chewy amaretti cookies

March 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

sheet of amaretti cookies

Remember that almond binge that I was on a few weeks ago? Well it still hasn’t ended as these delightful little amaretti cookies have stolen my tastebuds’ heart and I’ve taken to making them almost weekly because they vanish so quickly. It’s easy to see why, as they’re airy, sweet, and almondy. In other words, they’re perfect.

piped out batter amaretti cookies

Another things that makes these little darlings so attractive to make is that they require only four ingredients. (Three, if you’re like me and forget to add salt.) And if you don’t have almond paste in your home, you can easily make your own, using this recipe. So I learned how to make almond paste at home along with learning how bad of a piper I am. It’s more notable after taking them out of the oven, but my cookies were all different shapes and sizes and generally unattractive. But who cares? They’re delicious!

crushed cookie amaretti cookies

One thing to note about these cookies is that they’re painfully delicate before they cool, and with little effort, you will crush them. (As you see I clumsily did.) The only other thing that used to cause hesitation before I inevitably caved and made these anyways, was that I’d always have egg yolks hanging around the house for a few days before I’d end up chucking them. But as I’ve found a new, yummy custard recipe, this no longer poses a problem! So without further ado:

Chewy Amaretti Cookies
adapted by Smitten Kitchen from Gourmet magazine (sigh)

3/4 almond paste
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 large egg whites (aged for at least 30 minutes at room temperature)

Preheat oven to 300°F and place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

Pulse almond paste, sugar and salt in a food processor until broken up, then add egg whites and puree until smooth. Transfer batter to pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 1-inch apart in pans. Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.

Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.

[When you rotate the pan midway through baking, you’ll wonder why you left so much space between the cookies. Suddenly, at 15 minutes they’ll puff up and you’ll be happy you left that space!]

Let cookies cool almost completely in their pans. Once cool, they’re much easier to cleanly remove from the parchment. You can make them into sandwich cookies but spreading some jam (I used raspberry) between them or ganache (3 ounces of semi-sweet chips melted with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream, then left to thicken a bit would be enough to sandwich the whole batch).

Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two or frozen up to one month. Trust me, though, they won’t last that long.

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