Almond Amarena Cookies

I really like the combination of amarena cherries and almonds, as you may have noticed from this almond meringue cake with amarena cherries. I also really liked the texture of Mimi’s hazelnut cranberry cookies. And so it wasn’t hard to come up with almond amarena cookies, starting from Mimi’s recipe as a base. I made a few batches to create the perfect recipe, altering the amounts just slightly for a better texture and cookies that stay moist and tender for at least several days.

Amarena cherries are very dark (almost black) Italian tart cherries, very flavorful and aromatic. One large 600 gram jar contains about 64 cherries. Don’t discard the syrup, as it has the same great flavor. Try a few tablespoons in a glass of cola for the best cherry coke you’ve ever tasted.

The almond cookies are actually great by themselves, but the amarena cherry inside takes them over the top. These are so good, they may actually become my favorite cookies instead of these. I’d like to create different almond amarena cookies that are actually round (and would be called bocconini in Italian), but that’s for another post. These cookies have a great flavor and a great texture. They are not at all hard to make, you just need a food processor or stand mixer. With a little elbow grease, you could also easily make them by hand. Here’s how.


For 16 cookies

16 amarena cherries in syrup, drained (I estimate there are about 64 cherries in a 600 gram jar)

50 grams soft butter (3 1/2 Tbsp)

125 grams (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp) sugar

3 egg yolks

2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp almond extract

150 grams (1 1/2 cups) almond meal

75 grams (1/2 cup) cake flour (or all-purpose flour)

pinch of salt

3/4 tsp baking powder


Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of your mixer.

Mix until creamy.

Add the milk…

…the almond extract…

…and the egg.

Mix until homogeneous.

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

Whisk to mix.

Turn on the mixer and slowly add the almond meal while the machine is running.

When all of the almond meal has been added, add the flour mixture as well.

Mix just until combined.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF (fan forced). Take 1/16th part of the dough (about a tablespoon) and roll it into a ball using your hands. Flatten the ball of dough a bit and push a cherry into it.

Close the ball of dough and roll it again to obtain a ball.

Arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, putting them far apart as they will expand.

Bake for 12 minutes at 190ºC/375ºF, or until golden. They will still be soft; they will firm up when they cool.

Carefully transfer them to a rack immediately…

…to cool on all sides.

Store in an airtight container once cooled to room temperature. If you like, you can sprinkle them with icing sugar for a nice presentation.


Two years ago I blogged about Penne alla Norma, a great pasta dish from Sicily with eggplant, tomato and ricotta salata. If you can’t find ricotta salata, you can substitute with regular ricotta and parmigiano or pecorino.


9 thoughts on “Almond Amarena Cookies

  1. I love those cherries. 3 of them with some of the syrup drizzled over dark chocolate ice cream is heavenly. Your cookies look fabulous. I must bring another giant jar of these back when I go to Italy next time!


  2. I agree; walnuts and great cherries are a classic and tasty combination. Something beyond worlds. Your cookies look scrumptious; I am a big fan of almond flour in cookies. I had what must be amarena cherries, but not in syrup, but dried, today on a salad with apples and aged (gasp: goat!) gouda. They are, indeed, so large! I will have to put this recipe on my to-make list. They would also be lovely with a drizzle of dark red, Armena cherry glaze to echo the cherry inside. 🙂

    Regarding the “print” mechanism on my blog, I use google sites. It is nice: it acts as a recipe organizer for me and serves as a way to print from the blog, too. I used these instructions when I set it up:
    Let me know if you have any questions, of course; you have my email.

    I hope you are having fun in Vienna. The schnitzel on your plate looked gargantuan. One large piece of pounded & breaded chicken.

    Thanks for the scrumptious post, Stefan.


  3. Great cookies, Stefan. Love the cherry surprise in each. Never have found amarena cherries here, though I do look for them. One of these days …


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