These are airy, gluten-free almond cookies made with few ingredients. They are lightly colored, with a crackly exterior and a subtle almond flavor that makes them perfect for Easter or with a cup of your favorite drink. It's a great way to use those leftover egg whites that have been in the fridge for a while.
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I grew up eating the commercial version of these and let me tell you that this recipe is nothing like them. So much better, of course!
About authentic amaretti
Amaretti are traditional Italian cookies, sweet and airy, flavored with almonds, and very popular for Easter and Christmas.
Amaretti cookies are a traditional Italian cookie that originated in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy.
The name "amaretti" comes from the Italian word "amare," which means "bitter," and refers to the bitter almond flavor that is often used in the cookies.
The flavor comes from almond flour and bitter almond extract, and it's sophisticated and delicious.
Why make this recipe
I like this version, a recipe from my Italian cousins that live in Verona, with egg whites that are not whipped before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
They come out light and chewy, are made with just 4 ingredients, and require no electric mixer, just a bowl, and a whisk.
This recipe uses only 4 ingredients and they are all necessary.
- Almond flour: use purchased or make your own processing whole almonds until powdery. Be careful not to let them start releasing their oil as it will become pasty, not floury.
- Almond extract: use the pure kind which is made with bitter almonds and give these cookies their characteristic flavor.
- Sugar: regular granulated is used here.
- Egg whites: the ingredient that binds the dough together.
How to make Italian amaretti
A bowl and a whisk are all you need to put this cookie dough together.
The egg whites should be at room temperature so you can integrate them better and easier.
Add the egg whites to the dry ingredients (almond flour and sugar) that have been stirred together in the bowl.
Add the almond extract and mix. The final batter is thick, shiny, wet, and with texture.
Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet and leave some space between the mounds of cookie dough.
The baked cookies will crack as they dry in the oven and that is fine.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperatures, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Almond flour. I like to buy commercial flour and be done with it. But you can process whole almonds and make your own. I like this recipe for Homemade Almond Flour.
- Egg whites. The amount you add makes the dough thicker or thinner resulting in thicker or flatter cookies. I like them on the thin side because they are chewy and airy, as opposed to more dense ones. But it's your choice. I suggest you bake a few and see if you like them and adjust accordingly if necessary.
- Storing. They turn crisper but stay chewy the next day. I put them in tins and they last a few days.
They are almond cookies made with almond flour, pure almond extract, egg whites, and sugar. Some can have other flavorings or almond liqueur. The cookies are typically small, round, and crunchy with a slightly crisp exterior and a soft, chewy interior.
What flavor are amaretti?
Almonds. The word amaretti refers to bitter almonds, which are used to flavor this recipe via the pure extract used. Originally, a bitter part of the apricot pit, similar in flavor to bitter almonds, was used as part of the ingredients.
What's the difference between Amaretto and amaretti?
Amaretto refers to the almond liqueur and amaretti are almond cookies made with egg whites, sugar, and almonds. Sometimes amaretti can be flavored with amaretto di Saronno, but not always.
How do Italians eat amaretti?
Traditionally they're eaten with a cup of espresso or a cappuccino in the morning or after dinner, or with a glass of sherry in the afternoon. But you can have amaretti during the day, as a sweet treat or snack.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 2 cups (200g) almond flour
- 1 cup (200g) white sugar
- 3-4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Powdered sugar, to sift on top before baking
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir almond flour with sugar to mix in a large bowl.
- Mix with a fork the egg whites so they break up a little and are easier to measure.
- Add half the egg whites to the almond mixture together with the extract.
- Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Make sure it's all moistened, or most of it.
- Adjust by adding more egg whites if needed. The batter should be very thick and very slowly fall from the whisk when lifted from the bowl, but all the dry ingredients should be moistened.
- Scoop portions on the prepared sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each mound.
- Sift a thin layer of powdered sugar on top and let at room temperature for 1 hour (and up to 2). I you touch the surface a hard layer will have formed.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and very lightly colored.
- Let cool on a wire rack and carefully lift from the cookie sheet.
- Store in tins.
Almond flour. I like to buy the commercial flour and be done with. But you can process whole almonds and make your own. I like this recipe for Homemade Almond Flour.
Egg whites. The amount you add makes the dough thicker or thinner resulting in thicker or flatter cookies. I like them on the thin side because they are chewy and airy, as opposed to more dense ones. But it's your choice. I suggest you bake a few and see if you like them and adjust accordingly if necessary.
Storing. They turn crisper but stay chewy the next day. I put them in tins and they last a few days.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: amaretti, almond cookies