Amaretti cookies are a classic dessert throughout Italy, but are especially prevalent in Sardegna. The island has an abundance of almonds, and they take a starring role in many of its recipes. This almond flavored, crunchy cookie is perhaps one of the most ubiquitous of the almond treats. An Italian macaroon, this dessert is perfect with a nice cup of espresso.
There seem to be two camps when it comes to Amaretti recipes. One version combines sugar and ground almonds with beaten egg whites. This produces a cookie that closely resembles a meringue, and which is similar in nature to the Brutti ma Buonicookies that I made back during the Lombardia region. The other version uses almond paste, sugar, and egg whites (non-beaten) to produce a cookie that almost resembles a snicker-doodle in shape, but which is more crunchy. Both are delicious, but the almond paste Amaretti are much easier to make and are more likely to satisfy that cookie craving! But, make up your own mind!
Amaretti version 1 (Meringue version)
Adapted from CD Kitchen
2 cups almonds
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- In a food processor, grind the almonds together with the sugar.
- In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add the almond and vanilla extracts to the egg whites. Gently fold in the ground almonds and sugar until well combined.
- Spray a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Place rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet, about 1 to 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies are beginning to turn golden. The cookies should be firm to the touch.
Ryan'sSue's rating of Amaretti version 1: 3.5.
Amaretti version 2 (Almond paste version)
Adapted from Joy of Baking
One 8 ounce can or tube of almond paste
1 cup superfine sugar
2 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Break the almond paste into small pieces and put into the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Add the sugar to the almond paste. Beat on low speed until well combined.
- Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing well between each egg. Mix the dough just until it begins to stick to the bottom of the bowl, about 1 minute. Try not to over mix.
- When mixed, put the dough in a pastry bag or in a ziplock bag with the corner cut off of it.
- Spray a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Pipe circles of the dough onto the baking sheet, about 1 and a half inches in diameter. Leave about 1 to 2 inches between circles. Using a wet paper towel, lightly push down on the dough circles to smooth the top of the cookies.
- Sprinkle the cookies with some granulated sugar.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies get a dark golden color. The cookies will begin to crack on top. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.
Ryan'sSue's rating of Amaretti version 2: 4.5. These would only be better with some espresso!