Homemade Amaretti

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 🙂

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You can make your own almond meal if needed by grinding blanched almonds in the food processor. You could toast them for 10 minutes in the oven at 180ºC/350ºF first to bring out the flavor.

Ingredients

For 25 large amaretti

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250 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond meal

250 grams (1 1/4 cup) caster sugar

100 grams egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)

1 tsp almond extract

pinch of salt

Preparation

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Combine almond meal and sugar with a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor and process briefly to mix.

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Add egg whites and almond extract.

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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.)

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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.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes at 160ºC/320ºF (fan off) or until nicely golden.

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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.

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12 thoughts on “Homemade Amaretti

  1. Stefan ~ yours look better than any I have seen in the shops. Tho’ no baker must try 🙂 ! I found a fabulous pumpkin tortelli recipe a couple of days back containing both crumbled amaretti biscuits and apricot kernels [which I always thought were poisonous 🙂 !]. A couple of Italian blogfriends have thought it a good one – don’t have your email address, so may go the long way again 😀 !!

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    1. The apricot kernels, as bitter almonds, are poisonous as they contain cyanide. Now the distinction between poison and no poison is not clear, as even water can be poisonous if you drink enough of it in a single day.

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  2. I love amaretti, Stefan. Though no one in our house baked them, Dad went to his Italian baker friend every Christmas and brought home a box filled with them. It was a sure sign that Christmas was coming as was Mom’s biscotti. As good as those were, I’m sure that either of your 2 versions would be better, much better.

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    1. Thanks John. The homemade versions are slightly different. I may actually try to make some closer to store-bought, which would require whipping the egg whites and folding in the almond meal.

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