Every time we go to New York City, my family goes to an Italian bakery in Little Italy to buy Amaretti cookies. Years ago I started to play with ingredients to make amaretti cookies, and each recipe failed. I determined that they must be really hard to make! One year we went to the city and the bakery was closed for its annual 2 week vacation. We went to every other bakery on the block and no one had the chewy-style Amaretti cookies. Some bakeries offered the crunchy ones but we had grown to love the chewy cookies.
The following year our vacation schedule lined up with theirs again. Suddenly it was time to figure out how to make these cookies!
I looked around and saw many recipes for amaretti cookies and read them carefully to look for key things like “chewy” or “crispy” and looked at pictures of the finished cookies. Each recipe had things that sounded good to me, so I took bits and pieces from each. Some recipes called for castor sugar (can’t find it near me and I don’t want to add the step of blending sugar), and some called for coarse ground almond meal (I don’t like tasting little bits of almond in my Amaretti cookie). If a recipe called for vanilla extract and no almond extract I was skeptical, as after all they are almond cookies!
Amaretto (almond liquor) is mentioned in a lot of recipes. Yay! Just smelling Amaretto brings me back to childhood. I used to open the bottle in my parents’ liquor cabinet and inhale that amazing almond smell. Now I have a great reason to buy Amaretto.
This recipe is a blend of all of what I consider the best aspects of each recipe I found. The cookies are small, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It is important that they be of similar size for even baking. I tend to think “bigger is better” with cookies, but these smaller amaretti cookies taste and look better. I say it in the notes, but resist the urge to eat them immediately post-bake. They really do taste better when cool!
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 36 cookies||Total:|
These are just like they make at my favorite Italian bakery in New York City! They are naturally gluten-free, and except for the rolling they are pretty quick to come together.
- 3 egg whites
- 3 cups finely ground almond meal (or blanched almonds ground finely)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1-2 ounces amaretto
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 325. Line two half sheet baking trays with a silpat or parchment.[TEMP]
- Combine sugar and almonds [COMBINE]
- Whisk the eggs to stiff peaks in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer [BEAT]
- Fold in the mix of almonds and sugar. Add vanilla, almond extract and amaretto*.[BLEND]
- Once everything is mixed, turn the dough out onto a work surface, then roll the dough into a long rope and cut it into 36 equal pieces. Roll each ball in sugar, then roll in the powdered sugar.[SUGAR]
- Bake at 325 (convection) or 350 for a regular oven for about 12-15 minutes. [BAKE]
- Let cool completely on the tray.[COOL]
These taste better when they are fully cool. Resist the urge to eat them when warm as the almond flavor develops as they cool down. * I like to try to get the full 2 ounces of amaretto in if I can, but you want your dough to stay stiff, so add only what it will accept.