Ricciarelli (Sienese Christmas Cookies)

READY IN: 20mins
Recipe by JustEmma

These are delightfully moist little almond cookies which come from a centuries old Italian recipe. There are many alternatives you can do to the base recipe. The photo shows plain Ricciarelli laced with Rum and Ricciarelli with orange and lemon, dipped in dark chocolate. I've made boxes of these cookies for people and they always seem to come back for more!

Top Review by ammetz

Wonderful, light and flavorful. I tried this recipe for the first time last holiday season and they became an instant family favorite. The ground almond meal is a bit expensive, but so worth it!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Sieve together the Icing Sugar, Flour and Baking Power into a bowel, then mix in the Ground Almonds.
  2. In a separate bowl, add a couple of drops of almond extract to the egg whites and then whisk until stiff peaks form.
  3. Stir the stiffened egg whites into the dry mixture until a sticky 'dough' is formed.
  4. If you are trying the options, at this point add either a tablespoon of mixed orange/lemon peel OR the zest of half a lemon/orange OR a tablespoon of Rum, Brandy or Amaretto.
  5. Sprinkle a board with sifted Icing Sugar and take a desertspoon full of the dough, roll in the Icing Sugar and form into a ball. Flatten the ball a little with the back of a fork. Continue until all your dough is gone (the amount above should make 12-16 cookies).
  6. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and place your dough balls on, taking care to leave space for 'spread' during cooking.
  7. Pop into an oven that's been preheated to Gas Mark 6 (200C, 390F) until golden brown. This should take approximately 10-12 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely. If you are intending to dip the cookies in chocolate, at this stage you should melt very good quality dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa solids) in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and dip the cooled cookies inches Return them to the tray and cool off in the fridge or a cool place until chocolate is set.
  9. Ricciarelli keep for a few weeks in an airtight container.

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