Make your own amaretti cookies: The difference between these and the commercial ones makes the effort worthwhile!
Amaretti Cookie Recipe
From Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti
Amaretti are essentially almond meringues (you can find them in many specialty food stores under the brand Amaretti di Saronno). Says Michael Recchiuti, “As a teenager, I worked at my dad’s grocery market and one of my jobs was restocking shelves. That’s how I was first introduced to the delicate amaretti cookies wrapped in bright wrappers and packed into colorful tins. Legend has it that they were invented by a young Italian baker in the 18th century for the Cardinal of Milan. I learned how to make them from a woman named Carmella while I was working at her son’s pizzeria on South Street in Philadelphia. They go great with a shot of espresso, a scoop of gelato or even an afternoon tea.”
These light and airy cookies are gluten free: They can be enjoyed by people with wheat allergies or celiac disease.
- 1-1/8 cups whole almonds, blanched*
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
- 2 extra-large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
*You can substitute an equal amount of almond meal. Use only fresh almond meal; if it sits on the shelf it has a tendency to become rancid.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottoms of two 12" x 18" sheet pans with parchment paper.
Combine half of the almonds with the half of the cornstarch in a food processor and pulse to grind into a fine, dry meal. Repeat with the remaining almonds and cornstarch. Doing this step in two batches helps prevent the release of oil and the formation of paste or nut butter. Purchased almond meal may be substituted.
Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Stir to mix and set aside. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until they start to froth and then add about half of the granulated sugar. When they start to become stiff, increase the speed to high and add the rest of the sugar and almond extract. Beat until the whites start to lose their shine but still look wet. They will hang in stiff peaks when the whip is lifted from the bowl.
Fold half of the almond mixture into the whites with a rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the almond mixture just until no white streaks of egg whites remain. Using a pastry bag fitted with a #1 tip, pipe 1" mounds of the batter onto the prepared pans, spacing them about 1" apart. (You may drop the batter by tablespoonfuls rather than piping.) Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180° halfway through the baking time, 35 to 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove one of the cookies and check the bottom. If it is moist, cook for an additional 10 minutes. If it is smooth and dry, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
After the initial baking time, turn off the oven and crack the door slightly. Allow the cookies to dry in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and let them cool completely on the sheet pans, on wire racks.
Yield: About 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 1 week.
Recipe © Michael Recchiuti. Other material © Copyright 2005-
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