Amaretti cookies, low sugar, no gluten, no dairy. Soft-centred and delicious!
The almond flavour comes subtly from the almond meal – which also makes this dish gluten free; and is enhanced by the classic Italian amaretto liqueur.
Amaretto and amaretti cookies
The amaretti – cookies sometimes called macaroons – get their name from this amaretto liqueur.
And amaretto does not contain almonds! Instead it consists of an alcohol base, apricot kernel oil, sugar, and the essence of various herbs and fruits.
Probably the best known of the amaretto liqueurs is Disaronno Originale
- produced in Saronno, an historical old city of Lombardy, Italy
– di Saronno, = of Saronno
- and according to the company it maintains a secret formula that originated in the early 1500´s
– Originale, = the original.
I would buy the Disaronno Italian amaretto liqueur just for the look of the bottle: for the way it captures and enriches sunlight, then disperses it in those gorgeous golden shimmers.
The low sugar tag is applied because this recipe has sugar at less than 50% of the almond meal weight, in contrast to many amaretti recipes that have equal weights of sugar and almond meal. I prefer caster sugar as it mixes easily with the egg whites.
Admittedly, a high percentage of sugar helps make the amaretti soft-centred, and allows for easy caramelisation and a golden appearance. But to my taste, the over-sweetness masks the fine notes of the almonds, a bit like diluting a classic wine with a sugared soda.
A delicious light Italian-inspired cookie that takes minimum time to prepare and bake.
- 300g ground almonds
- 120g caster sugar
- 4 medium egg whites
- 2T Amaretto liqueur
- additional 4T castor sugar
- Separate whites from yolks of 4 medium eggs.
- Sprinkle 4T of caster sugar on a large flat plate.
- Line a large baking tray or pizza pan with baking parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 170c/325f.
- Place the egg whites in a clean dry bowl and whisk them to the point where they hold a peak.
- Quickly add and whisk in the caster sugar.
- Add the ground almonds and the amaretto liqueur.
- Fold these in using as few movements as necessary - I use a fine, curved spatula.
- Form the mix into small balls.
- - Because the mix is so sticky, I use an ice cream baller to do this.
- Lightly roll the balls in the caster sugar that is on the plate.
- Place the sugared cookie balls onto the baking sheet, spacing them out with room to expand.
- Gently press each ball to flatten it slightly - I use a mini-spatula for this.
- Bake in the 170º oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven,
- Let the amaretti cookies stand for 5 minutes, then place them on a cooling rack.
- Just as they are, warm or cool.
- Warning : these are definitely not "I'll just have one" cookies!
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