Recipe by Deborah Dal Fovo
These amaretti morbidi are ethereal almond cookies that hail from Northern Italy, where they have been made since the early 18th century. Finely ground almonds (both sweet and bitter, the latter being prohibited in places due to containing traces of cyanide) are mixed with beaten egg white and rolled in confectioners’ sugar, which creates a crackled effect when baked. Their snowy-white exterior is crisp and delicate, giving way to a soft, cakelike center with intense almond flavor and fragrance that is irresistible. They are also gluten-free.
Amaretti Morbidi (Soft Amaretti)
Makes 24 amaretti
1¾ cups (250 grams) blanched almonds (can be substituted with almond flour)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated or cane sugar (the latter gives a more caramelized flavor)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional but enhances almond flavor)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted to eliminate clumps
kosher or sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C with the rack in center position. Line two 13 x 18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar through a sieve onto a large plate and set aside.
Combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process by pulsing until finely ground to the consistency of sand (if using almond flour, you can eliminate this step).
Transfer the almonds and sugar to a mixing bowl and sprinkle the almond extract over top.
Place the egg whites in the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites, a little at a time, into the almond mixture until a smooth, compact dough forms and no white streaks remain. The dough should be fairly stiff and hold together when pressed and not be wet or weepy, so you may not use all the egg whites.
Use a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop to form uniform balls of dough (or pinch off pieces the size of walnuts) and roll each piece in the confectioners’ sugar to coat heavily then roll into round balls between the palms of your hands.
Arrange the dough balls on prepared baking sheets with a 2-inch space around each one. For best results, let rest in a cool, dry place (away from humidity) for 1 to 2 hours (and up to 12 hours) then dust with more confectioners’ sugar if needed.
Bake the amaretti until crackly, still soft to the touch, and pale with edges of cracks starting to take on color, about 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and cool amaretti
completely before removing from sheets.
These amaretti are soft and delicate when freshly baked and become chewier as days go by. Store in parchment-lined tins for up to a week.
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Amaretti Morbidi (Soft Amaretti)
Prep Time: 80 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Total time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Servings: 24 amaretti
- 1¾ cups (250 grams) blanched almonds (or raw almonds that you have blanched to remove skins, see directions below*)
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated or cane sugar (the latter gives a more caramelized flavor)
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted to eliminate clumps
- kosher or sea salt
Deborah Dal Fovo is an accomplished Italian Chef who mastered her culinary education hands-on while living in Italy for 20 years. Now based in the San Francisco Bay area, Deborah shares her vast Italian experience working as a private chef, cooking instructor, and enthusiastic Italian ambassador of good taste.