Amaretti (Almond Biscuits)
These are dead easy and quick traditional Italian biscuits and go so well with tea or coffee. The best thing is they can easily be whipped up and cooked within a half hour, so they’re fantastic if you have guests coming for a cuppa and have nothing in the cupboard. They’re also a great way to use up a couple of spare egg whites and are great for Christmas gifts. You can vary them by making them into balls and pressing a cherry or almond into the centre, but I love the way these little logs crack in the oven and look a little like mini loaves of sourdough. In my oven, they need less cooking time, so keep an eye on them – it will also depend on how large you make your biscuits. If you prefer hazelnuts, see these Italian Hazelnut Biscuits. Both these recipes are from Silvia Colloca’s blog Silvia’s Cucina. She has some amazing and simple Italian fare which is worth a look-see.
275g (1⅓ cups) caster sugar
300g (2½ cups) almond meal
2 egg whites
1tsp of vanilla essence
¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
icing sugar, glacé cherries or whole almonds to decorate
Preheat oven to 180C. Place sugar, almond meal, egg whites, vanilla and almond extract in a standing mixer and beat together for 2-3 minutes or until a sticky dough is formed.
Shape the dough into small rectangles, cover them liberally in icing sugar and place them onto an oven tray lined with baking paper; or if you prefer, roll bits of dough the size of a large walnut and make a small indent with your finger and decorate with a glacé cherry or whole almond.
Bake for 18-20 minutes of until the bottom is firm, but the cookies are still pale in colour.
Allow to cool and further firm up at room temperature before serving.
They will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Makes 15-20 depending on size