Prep 20 mins
Cook 15 mins
These crispy almond cookies are common to the Piedmont region of Italy. The name itself translates to “little bitter ones.” Bitter almonds, the traditional flavoring for these delicate cookies, cannot be sold legally in the United States, so the recipe uses almond extract. This recipe is from a chef friend.
- 2 1⁄2 cups sliced almonds, blanched
- 1 1⁄3 cups granulated sugar
- 1⁄3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1⁄2 cup egg white
- almonds, coarsely chopped and blanched (garnish)
- confectioners' sugar (garnish)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sliced almonds, sugars, lemon zest, salt, and extracts until they form a coarse paste, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the egg whites and continue to process until the mixture forms a smooth paste. (It should be scoopable, not spreadable.).
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a small ice cream scoop about 11⁄2 inches apart. Top with a sprinkling of chopped almonds. Let the cookies dry at room temperature for 1 hour (this gives the cookies their crisp crust).
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Bake until evenly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate and switch the baking sheets as necessary for even baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the baking sheets and then transfer, using a spatula, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
- Cinnamon Amaretti: Replace the lemon zest with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Chocolate Chip Amaretti: Fold 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into the finished batter.
- Orange Amaretti: Replace the lemon zest with 1 tablespoon grated orange zest.
- Candied Ginger Amaretti: Fold 1/4 cup finely diced candied ginger into the finished batter.