Posted on Wednesday, 22nd June 2011 by Grace Massa Langlois
I threw my apron in the air and did a little victory dance after I pulled out my first tray of Amaretti. Finally, after all the failed attempts (too embarrassed to reveal how many), I was successful! Sweet, soft and chewy – the coveted Amaretti made with my hands. Yahoo!
My Mother stopped by last week for a visit and another Amaretti tutorial (impromptu – I wasn’t allowing her to leave until I achieved the “perfect” cookie dough). I must say if I am anything like my Mom in the kitchen I completely understand why Liana (my daughter) doesn’t want to bake with me. At every turn she was trying to grab the whisk out of my hand and do it herself. I kept tapping her fingers away and saying, “I’m never going to learn if you do it”. To her defense I’m sure she was a little frustrated with me too. But really Mom – I do know how to separate eggs!
There’s definitely an art to the mixing of the batter, especially the egg whites. I know, painfully I may add, first hand what happens when you beat the whites too long – flat cookies (trays and trays of them). And the soft, chewy centre – forget about it!
Sadly, my sisters have long given up trying to achieve the “perfect” Amaretti and rely on my Mom to provide these tasty little treasures. Connie, Anna are you both listening? – You must give these cookies another try, if I can do – so can you!
I used very finely ground almond flour I purchased at the specialty market in my Amaretti. The almonds were blanched and powder-fine. My Mom was concerned about the texture; she uses coarser almond flour. I am happy to report that she was very happy with the texture.
Almond Flour is very difficult to find in my area. Now that I have the cookie dough right I plan on trying with the coarser flour (I make my own). The almonds don’t need to be blanched but I would definitely toast to bring out the flavour.
I was also very conscious of the size of the cookies. You don’t want to roll the cookie balls to large; I weighed each of my cookie balls to an exact 13 g (about ½-ounce). They were the perfect two-bite (or one if you are so inclined) sized cookies. Amaretti are the perfect accompaniment to “una tazza di caffè” (a cup of coffee) or espresso.
Amaretti grace each and every one of our Italian Cookie Trays. In fact they are the “star” of the tray and if you pay close attention you’ll notice rather quickly it’s the one cookie that disappears before all the others. They also make a delicious, homemade gift from your kitchen.
Amaretti are my absolute favourite Italian cookie, I hope you’ll give them a try.
Amaretti successful – the French Macaron is next, I quiver in fear at the very thought of making these.
I will be sharing another family cookie recipe, Pizzelle, very soon. Pizzelle are a family favourite too. There are so many different recipes available for these cookies and the recipes generally vary from region to region. I love Pizzelle! They are so versatile. I’ve rolled them when warm to create ice cream cones. They can be rolled and dipped in chocolate and they can be flavoured any number of different ways. I’m craving one just talking about them. Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker shared a recipe for Pizzelle and they look so much like my Mom’s. I think Michelle and I may own the same pizzelle iron. I’m looking forward to trying her version very soon.
Makes about 6 dozen amaretti cookies
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 300 g (1 1/3 cup) caster (superfine granules) sugar
- 500 g (1.1 pounds) almond flour, whole blanched, very finely ground
- Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling
- Silver dragées, for decorating
- In a large bowl, using a large balloon whisk beat the egg yolks. Gradually add sugar, whisking until well combined.
- Add the almond flour; whisk to just combine (do not over mix).
- In a separate bowl, using a large balloon whisk (clean and dry) beat the egg whites to barely a soft peak (do not over beat).
- Using a large flexible spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the almond mixture (this will loosen the almond mixture). Fold in remaining egg whites just to combine (do not over mix).
- Cover and refrigerate amaretti cookie batter for at least one hour (I put my batter in the fridge overnight).
- Preheat oven to 160° C (325° F). Line baking sheets with non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats, set-aside.
- Roll amaretti dough into 13 g (½-ounce) balls, coat in confectioners’ sugar and place a dragée in the centre. (Do not flatten cookies). Roll 20 amaretti cookies per baking sheet. Chill dough in between baking times.
- Bake until lightly golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Buon Appetito!
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Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, almond cookies, almonds, amaretti, dessert, desserts, food, food photography, food photos, Italian cookies, Italian desserts, Italian recipes, Italian sweet, sweets
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Eggs, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes