Acetani (Italian Almond-Orange Cookies)

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My friend Antonella took a sabbatical to be trained as a professional pastry chef in Italy. Upon her return, she baked acetani for us, wonderful almond-orange cookies that are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and have lovely aromas of almond and orange. Naturally I asked her for the recipe, and it was surprisingly easy. Just mix the ingredients, allow the mixture to cool, roll it into balls, cover them with icing sugar, and bake. The ‘tiger stripes’  that make them look so great, will appear of their own accord. These cookies are even gluten free, so what is stopping you from making them, too?! 😉

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Of course Antonella, like the true pastry chef that she is, provided the recipe in grams. If you like baking, you should get some digital scales. I do provide approximate measures in cups and tablespoons, but for best results I urge you to weigh the ingredients.

Ingredients

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For 25 cookies

250 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond flour (same as almond meal, or blanched almonds ground until very fine in the food processor)

250 grams (1 1/4 cups) sugar

25 grams (2 Tbsp) honey

80 grams (1/3 cup) egg whites (about 2.5 eggs)

grated zest of 1 orange

2 grams (1/2 tsp) baking powder

icing sugar (powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar)

Preparation

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Add 80 grams of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer. A food processor should work too, or use a bowl if you’re going to mix this by hand. Depending on the size of the eggs, 80 grams is more than 2 but less than 3 egg whites.

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Add 250 grams of sugar.

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Add 250 grams of almond flour.

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Add the grated zest of an orange. Make sure the orange is not waxed, or you’ll be adding grated wax instead of grated zest.

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Add 25 grams of honey.

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Add 2 grams of baking powder (1/2 teaspoon).

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Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

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Turn it on at low to medium speed…

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…and mix until the mixture is homogeneous.

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Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to chill in the refrigerator. An hour should suffice.

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Preheat the oven to 160C/320F (fan forced, or 180F/375F if not fan forced). Roll the mixture into 25 balls with your hands.

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Cover each ball in icing sugar.

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Arrange the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. They should be spaced somewhat apart, as they will expand when you bake them.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes at 160C/320F (or 180C/375 if not fan forced), until golden.

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Allow them to cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container.

Wine pairing

These are great with moscato passito, an Italian dessert wine made from dried moscato grapes. The wine has hints of orange and almonds, so it is no surprise it is a good match. One of the best known types is Passito di Pantelleria, but we enjoyed the acetani with a great moscato passito from Umbria.

Flashback

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Vegetable fondant is a way of cooking vegetables that has been made popular by UK restaurants. Vegetables are cooked in stock until they are tender with still some bite, and nicely caramelized on the surface. This is a great way to prepare parsnips, especially when you use sous-vide.

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23 thoughts on “Acetani (Italian Almond-Orange Cookies)

  1. Interestingly mine turn out flat without the surface cracking either. Followed recipe exactly as stated above. Any idea as to where I went wrong? Thanks, great blog by the way.

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    1. I can think of three things that may have gone wrong:
      – did you forget to include baking powder?
      – perhaps the dough was too thin because the ratio between egg white and almond flour/sugar was different? did you use scales?
      – oven temperature may have been too low
      I hope this helps.

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      1. Yes, I double checked everything beforehand as well as used a digital scale to weigh everything. I even checked to make sure my baking powder was still good. I’ll give it another shot and post my results. Thanks

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  2. these look amazing, great photos, I am surprised you have a squeezy honey in your cupboards though, would have expected you to be using himalayan lavender honey or some such item (just kidding) – why are the sous vide parsnips in there too – as a flashback ? disruptive story telling? I am curious. Anyhow back to work but did need to tell you they look divine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have nice local honey, but for purposes like these cookies the squeezy honey is good enough and much more handy to use.
      Since many of my current followers were not following me two years ago, I always put a flashback to a recipe of about 2 years ago at the bottom of each post. The recipe is usually unrelated (like in this case), but sometimes I managed to connect the flashback and the current recipe.
      The acetani do not only look divine, they also taste divine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 of course you do – I expected nothing less, than that you would have nice local honey in your cupboard for your honey! I also have squeezy honey for cookies, neutral flavoured, and then more interesting honeys non-massproduced for more interesting eating. Happy almost weekend to you – I will give the cookies a try soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I had some assistance to make these – as in I provided the recipe and another person made it. But I supervised closely! 🙂

    The combination of crispy and soft is mouthwatering. We downsized and served with coffee and Cointreau. Delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A while ago I followed your recipe and made them for a friends gathering. There were delicious and everyone loved them 🙂 Personally, I’d prefer if they were a bit less sweet. Can I simply add 200 g of sugar (instead of 250 g) next time I make them or there is something else I’d need to adjust?

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  5. Just made the Acetani, they worked out perfectly. We enjoyed (some of)them with tea and coffee, beautiful. Thank you for the recipe Stefan.

    Liked by 1 person

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