Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Simple Recipe for Amaretti Almond Cookies

Fast, easy and oh so sweet.

how to make recipe for amaretti cookies almond amaretto

A while back I got it into my head that I wanted to make Amaretti. Searching online for information I came across the family Amaretti recipe much treasured by Ivonne of one of my favourite blogs, Cream Puffs in Venice.

So I made a version of Ivonne's mother's cookies, without the nut topping, and I took them to a party, where they were quickly and happily devoured. And I might have left it at that, BUT, it had too much almond extract for my taste and I wasn't quite happy with the regular baker's sugar I had used to roll the cookies in. So I decided to try again.

Back to the drawing board. I went on a search for crunchier sugar, but the best I could come up with at first was some granular golden sugar which had too much of its own flavour personality that competed with the almond. This time I reduced the almond extract, but it still seemed to be too overpowering. Back to the drawing board, again.

Next up I asked the sugar question on chowhound: "I am having trouble finding the right kind of sugar, you know - those kind of opaque white large sugar granules you get on commercial amaretti. What is it called?". They came up trumps, and next thing I had a batch of pearl sugar on order.

My third batch of amaretti cookies were destined to be eaten by some very important people and I was convinced that having the new pearl sugar to roll them in would make all the difference. I have to apologize for experimenting on some of my fellow bloggers, because although this time around the cookies were getting better, I still thought there was some room for improvement. Pearl sugar is very large and sweet and as a consequence I felt their presence allowed for the amount of sugar in the cookies themselves to be reduced drastically. I also felt the amount of almond extract could be lessened even further and that the cookies were a little soft and could be cooked a little longer.

Although they were headed in just one direction this time, the fourth batch were, at last, good enough for sharing. So, without further ado...

How I Make Simple Amaretti Cookies:

12 oz almond meal (I use half and half blanched/non-blanched)
1/2 cup bakers sugar
3 tsp cocoa powder
2 medium eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup pearl sugar for rolling

- Preheat the oven to 350F, making sure you have a rack in both the lower and central position.
- Line a Baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat.
- In a bowl stir together the bakers sugar, cocoa powder and almond meal.
- In another, smaller bowl whisk the eggs together with the almond extract.
- Add the egg mix to the almond mix and stir until a dough forms and everything is well blended.
- Put the pearl sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Using a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, form level, dome-shaped cookies. Roll the domed area in the pearl sugar granules and then position flat side down on the baking sheet.
- These cookies to not change shape during cooking so you can position them close to one another. This recipe makes 36 cookies which should all fit on one sheet.
- Place the cookies on the bottom shelf of the oven for the first 10 minutes.
- Move them to the middle of the oven and leave for a further 8 minutes.
- Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and transfer to a cookie rack.
- Leave to cool completely so that they crisp up slightly on the outside before packing them into airtight containers where Ivonne claims they will last for up to 10 days. I wouldn't know - I have trouble getting them to last 10 hours.

Bay Area Resources:
Almonds from | Alfieri Farms
Eggs from | Marin Sun Farms
Cocoa-powder from | Scharffen Berger

Other Resources:
Buy Pearl Sugar Online

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Paper Chef with stone fruit, yogurt, herbs and chilli chips

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A Simple Recipe for Amaretti Almond Cookies


  • At 9/8/06 19:07, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    C might ask you to marry him if you ever bring these around!!!

    He positively ADORES amaretti cookies.

  • At 9/8/06 20:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They were fabulous - you may have noticed that not many of them actually made it much further than the dinner table! Thanks so much for making them!

  • At 9/8/06 21:21, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, they look fantastic. Much better than the amaretti I bought recently! Have to try them.

  • At 9/8/06 21:44, Blogger Catherine said…

    These were so delicious. Thank you!

  • At 9/8/06 21:48, Blogger Hungry Hedonist said…

    I loved them! Thanks for making it for us.

  • At 9/8/06 22:28, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    I'm scared to eat my second/last one. I have such a huge crush on almondy things. thanks for trying over and over again!

    And you can test your baked goods on me anytime! (No packaging necessary)

  • At 10/8/06 02:51, Blogger David said…

    Someone left a comment on my site that pearl sugar's available in the states at Ikea.

  • At 10/8/06 05:09, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    mmmmmmm, I have meant to try my hand at those. Yours look like pretty shining diamonds. The pearl sugar looks very white compared to the one I am more familiar with, but I am so glad you included the link as to where to find them! Merci Sam!

  • At 10/8/06 05:28, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Ohh...that would go great with my Iced Mocha! :D

  • At 10/8/06 06:35, Blogger Pille said…

    These look really nice, and I can't wait making my own Amaretti cookies soon, using your recipe. Pearl sugar is widely used in the Nordic countries, I like to sprinkle some on my cinnamon rolls for instance..
    But - what is baker's sugar? Confectioner's sugar alias icing sugar? Sorry, if it's a silly question..

  • At 10/8/06 09:32, Blogger Guy said…

    Wow, I really like the colors in that picture. Really do. I don't know why, but it makes me think of a happy Cuban. Happy Cuban colors today!

  • At 10/8/06 10:51, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam -- Now I have the confidence to make my own amaretti. Thanks for all your diligence! I love them crumbled into the center of peach halves with mascarpone, esp. good when decent fruit arrives. Nice to have the recipe, since the ones in the bright red tins are so expensive.

  • At 10/8/06 17:15, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    You have outdone yourself! Not only do they look beautiful, but it sounds like they were an enormous hit. I just wish I could have been there to try them ...


  • At 10/8/06 17:54, Blogger Jen said…

    Oh I am definitely making these! It looks so simple... now all i have to do is find those pearl sugar things?

  • At 10/8/06 22:53, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amaretti cookies are one of my favorite cookies ever! I love the almond flavor and the wonderful, chewy texture. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • At 11/8/06 07:26, Blogger Unknown said…

    Almond meal, I've never heard of the stuff honestly. Can you pick it up at your local Safeway?

  • At 11/8/06 07:39, Blogger Dani Spies said…

    These look so good, I can't wait to try them. Plus I figure, any cookie that gets tested and tweaked four times has got to be delicious!! Thanks for the dedication to the developing one delicious amaretti cookie:)!!

  • At 11/8/06 12:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes! yes! It was so sweet of you to share these with us. They pack a serious delectable flavo punch.

  • At 11/8/06 12:24, Blogger Rachael Narins said…

    I never knew what that sugar was called...thanks!

    The photo, as always, is superlative.

  • At 12/8/06 00:33, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi, thx for linking! its an honored 2b linked to your blog =)

  • At 12/8/06 22:31, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These were at least as delicious as they were gorgeous -- I hogged them and I think that the long-suffering G only got one out of the four, but I couldn't help myself...

  • At 13/8/06 09:58, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Beautiful! And they look absolutely delicious.

  • At 14/8/06 08:21, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fatemeh - I don't want to start any divorce proceddings or anything ;)

    Anita - Praise from a pastry chef is praise indeed.

    Claudia - they are different to the bought ones, but they are still good.

    Catherine - my pleasure.

    Jennifer - any time.

    Shuna - what an offer - and I know I will always get your honest opinion.

    David - I read that somewhere else. Going to Ikea isnt a thought that fills me with glee, however!

    Bea - well I did correct the whites on my picture - maybe that was what made them so bright?

    WMM - maybe you could make some, or ask your wife since she is currently in the mood for cooking?

    Pille - bakers sugar is caster sugar. I think you vould use regular granulated too since that is what Ivonne used in her recipe.

    Dr B - I just scrunched up some tissue-paper as a backdrop, nothing fancy, but I do like the colours too.

    Kudzu - funnily enough I used my first batch in a similar dessert with whipped cream, meringues, peaches and ammaretto.

    Ivonne - maybe I should send you some?

    Jenjen - now you know what it is called I am sure you will be able to find it online.

    Natalia - the texture is softer thanthe commercial ones, but if you like almnds a lot, I think you will like these too.

    Garret - also known as ground almonds. It isnt so easy to get hold of. I think they sell it as Trader Joes if you have one. I get mine from the market. You could also grind your own if you have the equipment (food processor)

    Dani - Yes, 4 times, I was beginning to get a little impatient about wanting to blog them The photo, btw, is from batch 3, which looked the same as batch 4.

    Kat - I am looking forward to sharing food with you again some time!

    Rachael - thanks to chowhound for that - it is such a useful resource as long as you don't have Jim Leff breathing down your neck.

    Evan - my pleasure.

    Julie - thank you for being the cause ofour wonderful gathering

    Jennifer - oh they are delicious which is why they never last very long!

  • At 14/8/06 09:23, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And one more thing, congratulations are in order as I just saw that your amaretti post is featured on Food & Wine's list of Top 5 Blog Posts for the week! That's fantastic!!!

    And yes ... please send me some.


  • At 9/12/07 10:45, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Trying to be organized for Christmas- do these freeze well?

  • At 9/12/07 10:52, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi barker - to be honest I have never tried. The creator of the original recipe claims they will last 10 days in an air tight container but I have never needed to test that theory because they get eaten so quickly. They are really easy and quick to make though. Make sure that you get the Pearl sugar - it really is vital to their success. I made some last weekend and paired them with mexican wedding cookies and looked really pretty together on the plate!

  • At 18/12/08 10:37, Blogger Hallie said…

    Hi Sam,

    Just wanted to let you know that I made your amaretti cookies and they were amazing. I'm giving them as Christmas presents to my family. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • At 18/9/09 11:00, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    if almond meal is ground almonds, how did you keep these cookies from becoming a wet mess.

    the dough was way to wet, i even used medium sized eggs, but still, they were running all over the place.

    did you add any flour at all?

    recipe seems incomplete


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