This easiest of cookie recipes is from Baking With Julia, my ultimate baking source. A light Italian cookie that should be crisp outside and have a soft chewy interior. Amaretti means “little bitter things,” from the practice, common in Italy, of using both sweet and bitter almonds in the dough. Bitter almonds cannot be imported into the United States.
Only 3 ingredients are needed and a pastry bag for piping the dough. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a Ziploc bag with a 1/2 inch hole cut in a corner.
It is essential to use ALMOND PASTE not almond filling. Almond paste is thicker and has less sugar.
One 8-ounce can ALMOND PASTE (I use Solo brand)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, beaten with a fork lightly
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees
- Line two baking sheets with parchment
- Cut almond paste into 1/2-inch cubes and place in bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment
- Add 1/2 of the sugar and mix on low speed until paste is in small crumbs
- Add the remaining sugar and mix until crumbs are very fine, about 2 minutes
- Add the egg whites in 3-4 additions, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating until batter is free of lumps. Don’t overbeat
- Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip or use a Ziploc-type bag with a 1/2 inch hole cut in the corner
- You can also use a small scoop to form the amaretti, using about a teaspoon of batter for each cookie
- Make the cookies tiny, one bite size.
- Place them 1 1/2 inches apart
- Just before baking each tray, wet a cotton or linen kitchen towel (terry won’t work). Keep it wet, but not soaking wet
- Fold the wet towel and use it to drap over the cookies, a few at a time, and use an up-and-down motion to pat the cookies with the towel several times, until their tops are smooth, slightly flattened and glistening. This helps produce the crinkly top that is typical of these cookies
- Bake the amaretti until they are well risen, lightly colored and covered with fine cracks; 10-15 minutes. If you make larger cookies, bake them longer.
- Transfer the cookies, parchment and all, to cooling racks. Cool completely.
- Gently peel the amaretti off the paper. If any cookies stick, use a thin spatula to scrap them off, or brush the underside of paper with a little hot water. Give it a few seconds to seep in, then peel off the cookie.
- Amaretti will be moist and chewy for a few days and then become dry and crisp. Both are delish!