Amaretti Cookies...crispy, sweet, light- and-airy, almond cookies. It's nice to be back.... I always miss my kitchen when I'm gone... at times I may want a break from all the cooking and baking, but when I'm not in my kitchen for a long time, I miss it tremendously! So it's really nice to be home after a long vacation visiting family and friends. Thank you for your patience...especially those of you with questions. I think I've answered all the comments/emails that have come in.
Our vacation also included a week in Rome, Italy... where I fell in love with their homemade pasta, their delightful pastries, their caffe, their gelato, and their colorful farmer's markets. Oh, and I could never get enough of their mortadella:)...
While in Rome, I noticed that cookies were very popular in pastry shops.... all sorts of cookies in various forms abounded. There were the famous biscotti, the buttery cookies dipped in chocolate, the amaretti, the baci di dama(lady's kisses), the brutti ma bouni( ugly but good)... and so on. Below is a picture of a few sweets we picked up one morning...
Of course, the sfogliattele, the tiramisu, the cannoli, the ricotta cheese cakes, the cornetti, the croissants, and the fruit tarts were also quite popular. Every time you passed by a pastry shop, you would get a whiff of the buttery aroma that beckoned you to go inside and try one or two of their delectable pastries.... or maybe a few more:).
I was inspired by the food in Italy, I've made a list of dishes I would one day love to replicate at home. Until then, I thought to share a recipe for amaretti cookies I made some time ago...
Awhile back I saw a recipe that used amaretti cookies as a base for making tiramisu....I thought the idea to use amaretti cookies instead of lady fingers was rather unique, so I bookmarked it immediately. At the time, I had wanted to make some homemade mascarpone to go along with it, so I waited a bit. Eventually I made the mascarpone... but plumb forgot about the amaretti cookies:). Well, not for long...
One morning I stumbled upon the bookmarked recipe... decided to bake a batch of amaretti cookies that very day. As I was whipping up the egg whites, the phone rang... not good timing when you are whipping up egg whites. But the phone call was rather important, and I needed to pick it up. It turned out that the phone conversation ended up being a bit longer than I had anticipated, and when I went back to my whipped egg whites, I noticed the egg whites had started separating. The top of the egg whites was all foamy, but underneath a small pool of liquid had accumulated. In any case, I decided to forge ahead with the recipe and make the cookies regardless. I knew my cookies would probably not gain the height that I wanted, but I was fine with that. Of course, I was quite excited when I saw the final product... the cookies were so light and airy...not so flat as I had expected:).
I never ended up making the amaretti tiramisu...nor the amaretti cookies with coffee flavored mascarpone that I initially saw on Vera's blog. Just enjoyed the cookies with coffee:). These cookies are crisp and sweet...with lots of almond flavor. And if you add a bit of cinnamon, you'll get a cinnamon-y flavor as well. Yet another great recipe from Baking Obsession...love her site. Hope you enjoy...
Note: For making extra fine sugar: I place regular cane sugar in my processor and process for a minute or so until sugar has a really fine texture.
For grinding almonds: I grind a scant cup of whole raw almonds in my food processor...until fine. You can use slivered almonds as well or probably even almond meal.
Tip: You can easily make these cookies gluten-free, if you exchange the tablespoonful of regular flour with a gluten-free flour or probably even a bit more almond meal.
You will need: adapted from Baking Obsession
2 egg whites, at room temperature
2/3 cup extra fine sugar, divided
1/2-1 tsp almond extract...or drops of almond oil
1 cup finely ground raw almonds
1 TBS all purpose flour
1 TBS cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon(optional, though I like the cinnamon-y flavor)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix ground almonds, 1/3 cup of the sugar, flour, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss to blend. (I pulsed mine in the food processor for a few seconds). Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until foamy, add almond extract, and then gradually add remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.
4. Fold in the almond mixture... try to be gentle so as not to deflate the mixture. Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a round 1/2 inch wide tip.
5. Pipe round mounds spacing them about 1 inch apart. Smooth the tops with wet finger.
6. Bake the cookies on the middle rack for about 20 min or so...or until lightly browned.
7. Cool on a rack. They will crisp up as they cool.