Amaretti cookies are one of the most popular types of traditional Italian desserts.
Italian's tend to use nuts in a variety of different ways. Almonds and hazelnuts show up in many of their recipes.
These cookies consist of very few ingredients, but pack a lot of flavor.
This recipe calls for both bitter and sweet almonds, but if you can't find bitter almonds, just substitute the sweet ones, bake and enjoy!
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
If you buy almonds with skin, you'll have to take this first step - otherwise, skip ahead.
Preheat your oven to about 300 degrees. Bring a small pan of water to a boil, and drop the almonds in for about 1.5 - 2 minutes. Then drain out the water, and rub the almonds in a dry cloth to remove the skins. Then spread them on a baking tray and put them in the heated oven for about 10 - 12 minutes (without letting them brown). Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
When they are cool, grind them up in a food processor, combining with about half of the sugar.
With a beater (or stand mixer), whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks (when you lift your whisk out a point forms and then falls over). Then sprinkle half of the remaining sugar over the whites and keep beating them until stiff peaks form (when you lift your whisk out a peak stands and stays up). With a spatula, gently fold in the remaining sugar, being careful not to over-work the whites. Spoon the almond mixture into a pastry bag that you have fitted with a round/smooth tip. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with a sheet of parchment paper. Dust it with flour.
Let out all the air in the pastry bag, and with a firm squeeze, pipe out the mixture into small rounds about the size of a walnut. Let stand for about 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the amaretti for about 15 minutes or until they turn light gold. Remove from the oven and let cool. When they are cool, you can store them in an air-tight container, or serve them right away with a cup of steaming espresso. Buon appetito!
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