Amaretti are those crispy Italian almond cookies that are crumbled and used for cakes, and in fact are not made of almonds but of apricot kernels. The word “amaretti” means “little bitter ones”. The home made variety is in fact made of almonds and it is initially more chewy than brittle. The recipe is easy: almond meal, egg whites, caster sugar, almond extract, and a pinch of salt. I’ve created my own recipe for cookies that was based upon this, adding lemon zest and coconut to the mix. I’ve been making them for so long that I wanted to make simple amaretti again just to see how I’d like them. The verdict is that I like them, but I like my enhanced variety better 🙂
For 25 large amaretti
250 grams (1 1/4 cup) caster sugar
100 grams egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
1 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
Process until the dough has come together. The dough should be compact and slightly sticky. (If baking by the gram this should work. If baking by the cup, it is probably a good idea to start with a little less egg white and see how much you need to add to make the dough just come together. If you add too much egg white, the dough will be runny.)
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/320ºF (fan off). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the dough on the paper in 25 heaps. I like them rustic looking like this, but you could also give them a smoother appearance.
The amaretti will still feel soft; they will harden as they cool. Once cool, they should come off the parchment paper pretty easily. Store in an airtight container. They start off as chewy and will slowly become more dry and brittle.