Back in July while Scott and I were in Pittsburgh, we stopped into Enrico’s Biscotti Company in the historic (and delicious!) Strip District. Of course we picked up some biscotti to munch on, but I also nabbed a very delicious and chewy amaretti cookie. One bite and it was added to my to-do list of baking projects! Amaretti, or Italian almond macaroons, are simple yet rich, and when done well have a light crisp exterior that gives way to a moist and chewy center bursting with almond flavor. Are you drooling yet? I also should mention, since these involve only almond meal/flour they are gluten-free!
Anyway, last night I found myself with time on my hands and a sudden sweet tooth, so I decided I wanted to bake some cookies. As fate would have it, my mom had recently given me a bag of almond flour and these cookies only require a few other ingredients that any home-baker would have on-hand at most times! This recipe is uber-simple. Don’t be daunted by the hand-beating of the egg whites, as it isn’t as challenging as whipping to stiff peaks. For this recipe the key is to avoid over-beating and over-mixing your ingredients as you want to achieve that soft chewy bite. I highly recommend making a double – or triple – batch of these! I went small since I didn’t feel the need to have dozens of cookies at an arms reach, but boy did these go fast at the office this morning!
- 1 Egg, separated
- 1 1/3 Cup Almond Flour
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
- Confectioners Sugar, for rolling
Beat egg yolk in a large bowl with a whisk. Gradually add the sugar and mix until combined. Add almond extract and flour and mix until blended, the dough will be crumbly. Clean and dry your whisk well. I’ve learned the key to whipping up egg whites is avoiding contamination by other ingredients; Even your mixing bowl, while seemingly clean, could benefit from a quick wipe-down, and stainless steel works better as melamine tends to hold onto residue. Once you’re all set up and clean, begin whisking your egg whites briskly until soft peaks are just about formed (It’s all in the wrist!). Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold your egg whites into the almond flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set up a dish with about a half cup of confectioners sugar. With your hands, roll the dough into about 1-inch sized balls. Then roll them around one by one in the sugar, shaking off excess before placing them on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and enjoy!