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.
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
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.