Have I mentioned before how much I love almond-flavored things? Oh, I have? Well, it bears repeating. I LOVE almond-flavored things. And these tiny Italian treats are my latest almond obsession.
It started a few months ago, when I was staying at a hotel with an Illy coffee bar in the lobby. Now, in addition to being an almond fiend, I’m also all about that Illy espresso. I rarely make coffee at home anymore–I converted back to earl grey tea as my go-to morning beverage a few years ago, and I just can’t bear to part with its bergamot deliciousness–but when I do, I generally use Illy, because if I’m gonna make coffee, by God, I’m gonna do it up right!
So, needless to say, every morning before heading out, I would swing by the coffee bar for a morning latte. Now, the lattes themselves were, of course, exceptional. But the cherry on top was that, just before handing it over, the barista would pluck a bite-sized amaretti cookie from a tin next to the espresso machine and place it delicately on the lid of my latte–a tiny amuse bouche before my decidedly less luxurious breakfast of yogurt and granola.
Since then, I haven’t been able to get visions of amaretti out of my head. So, this afternoon while waiting for Comcast to come fix my TV (I’ll spare you the details of THAT particular ongoing saga…), realizing that I had both almond flour and amaretto on hand, I decided to finally take a stab at making some amaretti cookies of my own. The result was a slightly larger (two-bite-sized), slightly chewier, but equally delicious cookie that I have no doubt will pair just as well with a giant mug of earl grey as it’s coffee bar cousin did with a latte.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp amaretto (or almond extract, if you want to go booze free or just don’t have amaretto on hand)
- granulated (about a half cup) and powdered sugar (3/4 to 1 cup) for rolling
- In a large bowl, sift the almond flour and sugar together. (I’ll be honest, I almost never actually do the sifting step when a recipe tells me to because, I mean, who has time for that? But I had a sneaking feeling that, for this recipe, the whole sifting thing might actually matter, so I sucked it up and put in the extra 45 seconds or so. Now, I don’t know whether it made much of a difference or not, but the cookies did come out pretty great).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer (or just another bowl if you’re using a hand mixer or, heaven forbid, hand whisking), whip the egg whites and salt until soft peaks start to form. Add the amaretto and mix just until combined.
- Add the whipped egg mixture to the flour/sugar mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough forms. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and pop it the fridge to chill for at least an hour before baking the cookies.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 325. Put granulated and powdered sugars into two separate small bowls.
- Take the chilled dough out of the freezer and roll into small balls. A small cookie scoop works well here, but you could also use a 1 tbsp measuring spoon or just kind of eyeball it. Ideally, you want the cookies to be fairly close to bite-sized.
- Roll each dough ball first in the granulated sugar and then in the powdered sugar. Place the balls on the baking sheet about an 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart and press gently on each ball to flatten them slightly.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cookies have cracked and are golden on the inside. Leaving the cookies a touch underbaked will give them a chewier center, but if you’d prefer them crunchier throughout, leave them in a few minutes longer.
- Once the cookies are done, let them cool a minute or two on the baking sheet before placing them on a wire rack to cool completely (or, you know, eat them warm if you just can’t resist).
This recipe made about 25 cookies for me, but you may get more or less out of the dough depending on the size of of your scoops. Because of their adorably petite size and striking crackly appearance, these cookies would make an excellent holiday gift packaged up in a festive treat box or cookie tin. But definitely be sure to double (or triple, or even quadruple) if you’re gifting, because you will want to save some for yourself.
Now get out there and make you some almond-y goodness!
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