Imagine you’ve been shopping and sightseeing all day in Venice. You and your travel partner decide it’s time to sit for a minute and enjoy a late afternoon espresso before deciding where to dine for dinner. When your coffee arrives, alongside it on the saucer is this wonderful chewy amaretti cookies—the perfect little sweet.
These cookies are an Italian macaroon with fantastic almond flavor. Many recipes call for adding in a bit of vanilla. Still, I like to punch up the almond flavor using almond extract instead. It’s hard to believe that such a sweet and intense almond flavor can come from these little amaretti that you can have on your table in under an hour.
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Did You Know There Are Two Types of Amaretti Cookies
There are two types of Amaretti cookies; the soft, chewy ones and the crispy, crunchy cookies. This soft version is also called “Amaretti Morbidi” (morbidi means soft in Italian, not to be confused with the English word morbid). These cookies are the light and chewy ones. The crisp cookies are made the same way but held in the oven longer to obtain a crunchier texture. You get to choose!
Using almond flour will give you a smooth dough with a texture like marzipan. But you can also use blanched almonds that you grind on your own. Same flavor, but the cookie will have a coarser crumb. Because these cookies have no fat (i.e., butter), they really won’t spread during baking.
As easy as it is to make these cookies, one thing I recommend is a stand mixer. Anytime you are beating egg whites to a stiff peak (like here and for the cute little meringues I also like to make for the holidays), your arms can get pretty tired.
There are many different stand mixers on the market, but I really like my KitchenAid. I’ve had it for over 20 years and it’s never let me down.
Making Ahead and Storing Amaretti Cookies
This is a small recipe, only making about 24 cookies. But if you don’t eat them all at once, they are easy to store. Put them in a tin or other air-tight container, so they don’t get moist. They will last up to a week.
If you want to have these cookies fresh each time you eat them. Make the dough, roll the little balls, place them on a flat surface (like your cookie sheet) and freeze for at least an hour. Once frozen, place the cookies into a freezer-safe storage bag.
When you are ready to have a few cookies remove some from the bag and thaw for 30 – 60 minutes. Roll each ball in the sugars and bake, following the same instructions in the recipe.
Making these chewy Italian Amaretti cookies is a great way to use up leftover egg whites and add a gluten-free cookie to your repertoire!
- 3 egg whites (from large eggs)
- 2 3/4 cups Almond Flour
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F
- Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper
- Prepare two bowls: one with granulated sugar and one with powdered sugar. These will be used to coat the cookies before baking.
- Combine Almond flour sugar and salt in a separate bowl
- Carefully separate the egg white from the yolks and add to the mixing bowl one at a time.
- Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks
- Add the Almond extract to the egg whites and continue to mix until you get to the "stiff peak" stage.
- Add the lemon zest and almond flour and sugar mixture to the egg whites and fold until fully incorporated.
- When done, the dough should be a thick paste that you can roll into a ball.
- Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into small balls about 1" in diameter.
- Roll each ball first in granulated sugar and then in powdered sugar. Place the coated ball on the cookie sheet and slightly squash the cookies down with two fingers.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and rest on the cookie sheet for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a cooling rack fully.
Your cookies will crack on the tops. This is normal and the look you want!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g
With this recipe, you can make these lovely little gems at home and relive your Italian coffee break anytime.