Italian Almond Cookies
These delectable almond cookies are made with just a few ingredients. Though they’re typically Sicilian, similar versions are found all over Italy. A bit like macaroons, they are crisp on the outside, with a perfumed chewy interior. They may be baked plain, decorated with candied fruit or whole almonds, or made into thumbprint cookies, filled with a spoonful of good jam. Ideal to bake in advance, these cookies keep well for several days, ready to serve at a moment’s notice.
- Serves: 24 persons
- 2cups/290 grams blanched almonds
- ⅔cup/130 grams granulated sugar
- 2egg whites
- ½teaspoon almond extract
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Amarena cherries or whole unblanched almonds, for garnish (optional)
Step 1Put half the almonds and half the sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process to obtain a coarse meal. Repeat with remaining almonds and sugar.
Step 2Put egg whites and almond extract in a medium bowl. Using a wire whisk, beat whites until soft peaks form. Add the almond-sugar mixture to the whites and use a rubber spatula to incorporate the egg whites until you obtain a doughlike consistency.
Step 3Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to make 24 little blobs weighing about 1/2 ounce/20 grams. Roll each between 2 palms to make smooth spheres, then flatten them slightly. Roll them in a bowl of confectioners’ sugar to coat well and place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 4Use the end of a wooden spoon to make little round dents in each cookie. Fill dents with whole, unblanched almonds or Amarena cherries, if desired. Alternatively, leave cookies plain with smooth tops. Leave the tray of unbaked cookies at room temperature, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Step 5Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.