Amaretti cookies are one of my favorites to make not because they are such an easy recipe but for the way they smell up the kitchen so sweetly of almonds. It doesn’t hurt that they have a perfect combo of crunchy, almond-y, chewy, sweetness. French-style gerbet macaroons are everywhere but I haven’t seen these little Italian macaroons around as often though they are equally as delicious. They also happen to be much less fussy to make as well as gluten-free.
I often bake more than I need because these cookies freeze great for eating later, or to crumble into cheesecake crusts, or on top of ice cream.
First, I want to share a bit about two ingredients. Almond paste is typically made with equal amounts of almonds and sugar ground together. You can find it in cans or tubes in most grocery store pastry aisles. It sounds similar to marzipan but it is a completely different animal – marzipan is typically one part almonds to
three or so parts sugar. Also, superfine sugar is standard cane sugar ground finely. You can find superfine sugar packaged at some grocery stores or make it at home using a coffee or spice mill or food processor to grind your sugar to a powdery consistency. Confectioners or 10x sugar is not a proper replacement since it is ground even finer than we want and has cornstarch additions.
Makes about 40 cookies
450 g almond paste
380 g superfine sugar
1/2 t salt
110 g egg whites
1 t vanilla extract
Plus extra superfine sugar and whole almonds for finishing, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 convection).
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the almond paste, sugar, and salt using your mixers paddle attachment on low-speed until you no longer see lumps of the almond paste.
- Add 1/3 of the egg whites and the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Scrape down your bowl and add the second 1/3 of egg whites while continuing to mix. The mixture should become homogeneous and smooth, add small amounts of the remaining egg whites until the dough is soft, pipeable, and sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- I like to pipe the cookies using a star tip for more crunch-factor but you could also pipe or spoon it into little mounds (especially if you want to sandwich them together – you can use a wet paper towel to make these mounds smooth). Be sure to leave room between the cookies because they will rise a bit during baking.
- If desired, top cookies with one blanched almond and a sprinkle of superfine sugar.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until completely golden. Let cool completely then use an offset spatula to separate the cookie from the parchment.