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I am baking for Xmas 2017 as I write this. I have pared down the list of cookies I will bake to about 17 types. You wouldn't think I'd need to add another to the list - but you know me and Italian cookies! I could not resist trying this Amaretti Cookie recipe from my blogging friend Maria at She Loves Biscotti - a recipe she got from a friend in Sardinia.

Here's what you get - a crisp sugary exterior and a soft chewy interior that will remind you of marzipan. Some have described Amaretti as the Italian version of the French Macaron - both featuring almond flour and egg whites as the main ingredients. I have taken a course to learn how to make Macaron (and have had success making them). No course needed for Amaretti - it's crazy easy and pretty much foolproof to make.

Maria does such a great job of describing her recipes - with great photos and all, I see no point in repeating her recipe here. I've already made the recipe more than once. I have these few tips to share.

  • bitter almond extract - I think that's key to the flavour; try to get that rather than substituting regular almond extract. You should be able to get it an an Italian deli. My German deli carries many products from the Dr. Oetker brand - and that includes little vials of bitter almond extract. Each vial = 2 ml. The recipe calls for a teaspoon which is 5 ml. I used two vials of extract = 4 ml - that was fine. Golda's Kitchen also carries this - worth a drive there, or order online.
  • egg whites - a main ingredient in this flourless cookie (GF!). I always freeze egg whites when I have some leftover from cooking. If you have a lot of cookie recipes asking for egg whites and hate to waste the yolks - try Burnbrae Farms egg whites in a container. They must be refrigerated, so measure out what you need and let the whites come to room temperature. Give the container a good shake before measuring. The white from one large size egg is about 31 g, so for this recipe that calls for 3 egg whites, weigh out 93 g.
  • Mixing batter / dough - when you first add the beaten egg whites to the ground almonds, it seems as if that mixture will not work - but in a few minutes of stirring it all comes together. Use your hands if you like at the very end to be sure it's all uniformly incorporated.

Visit Maria's site for the recipe, read her story and happy baking!

Notes and Tips...

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