Amaretti are Italy’s answer to the French macaron. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these golden cookies date back to the Renaissance in Sarrono, just north of Milan. Like a French macaron, they can be found sandwiched between ganache or jam, but most often they are consumed plain. Amaretti though, have a much deeper almond flavour and colour and don’t have the characteristic “feet” of a traditional macaron. While they aren’t particularly difficult to make, they are also quite inexpensive to purchase and most Italians tend to buy them by the tin.
Lazarroni is Italy’s most popular producer of amaretti and can be found in almost every grocery store and market in Italy. They’re also exported around the world so if you’re looking for convenience you can find a little piece of Italy at home. But if you’re like me and like to make them on your own it really is a simple treat. And when someone asks you where you bought them, it’s always rewarding to say you made them yourself. I also like to use amaretti as a part of other desserts. If your cookies go stale, or even if they didn’t quite turn out as pretty as you hoped, you can still crush them up and use them as a base for cheesecake, or a tart crust to replace traditional graham crackers. They’re also a great addition to a trifle, or part of an ice cream sandwich. These cookies are so versatile and an inspiration to change up some of your favourite desserts.
Amaretti (makes about 50 small cookies)
35og almond flour
150g egg whites
40 ml amaretto liquor (or to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Whip egg whites to firm peak
3. Fold in sugar and almond flour, them amaretto. Don’t worry if your whites deflate, they are meant to.
4. On a parchement lined baking sheet, spray with non stick cooking spray.
5. Using a piping bag or teaspoon, place mounds of dough on sheet, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Sprinkle tops with sugar
6. Bake until golden brown. About 15 minutes