I have a lot of weaknesses in the world of sweets, and amaretti cookies are very near the top of that list as far as a quick afternoon treat goes. Or morning, or noon, and/or night. Recently, I got into a habit of going for hot chocolate and grabbing a small bag of amaretti cookies on some of those cold winter days. Which we had a lot of this past winter. I barely noticed them when I had a mouth full of chewy almond goodness.
Last week I decided to try and make some myself! It's a great idea, as long as I have people around me, who are ready to eat a bunch of them with me. Otherwise this would be a terrible idea as I don't have a "stop", "no, Nicole, you've eaten enough cookies today" button. I wish I did. I've now made them twice, trying to perfect them.
The first batch I made were delicious. But they flattened out in the oven. I knew this was likely going to happen because the recipe told me so. It needed almond meal, not almond flour, and I used almond flour, because I couldn't find almond meal anywhere and I had already gotten all of the other ingredients and I already couldn't wait to make them. So I used the flour. They flattened.
The second batch I made turned out perfectly with a small adjustment during the baking.
If you use almond flour (just don't) the cookies will flatten and the edges will crisp and/or burn. They are, however, still delicious.
After searching everywhere for almond meal with no luck, I decided to make my own. All you need is a food processor and some almonds. Nigella Lawson told me personally, directly, through a google search, through her website, from her tips, etc. She said: "Nicole... use smaller pieces of almonds rather than whole almonds. You will extract less oil from the almonds this way." So I got slivered almonds and got them to the texture of sand (maybe a bit coarser), and it worked like a charm. I may process a bit longer next time, just make sure you don't turn it into flour.
The recipe is below!
Final tips. My mix ended up a bit too liquid on the last batch (possibly because I didn't ground the almonds enough) so I just added more almond meal and that fixed it right up. I also started making them too large. Start with an inch or so in diameter. Caster Sugar has many names and can be found at Bulk Barn in Canada for sure.
- 3 egg whites from large eggs
- 3 cups ground almonds/almond meal
- 1 1/2 cups minus 1 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
- 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 2 heaped tbsp icing/powdered sugar
These can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature. They should be eaten in 3 to 4 days, this shouldn't be a problem. I found that even on day 3 they start getting hard, but still delicious!
If you are grinding your own almonds, choose an already cut up almond rather than whole. This will prevent the recipe from having too much oil. Which would flatten the cookies. They can have skin on or skin off, this doesn't matter.
My floating tower of Amaretti.