Sicilian Amaretti

Amaretti, are Italian cookies made with almonds. Although I have made these cookies with almonds, pistachios are the traditional nuts used by Sicilians. My grandmother always bought the nuts in the shells, which needed to be removed before the baking of any cookies or cakes commenced.

These amaretti are crisp on the outside with a chewy interior. They are easy to make and require only four ingredients; pistachios, sugar, egg whites and almond extract. If I’m making more than one batch and have no immediate use for the yolks, I use liquid egg whites, which can be found in any grocery store, next to the eggs. And, if you like your amaretti more crisp and less chewy, all you have to do is bake them longer. Enjoy your biscotti with an espresso, a cup of coffee or a glass of Vin Santo.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1/3 cup liquid egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Olive oil to grease pan
  • Confectioners sugar, for dusting
  1. Using a food processor, process the nuts and sugar until the nuts are finely ground (but not pasty).
  2. With the motor running, pour in the egg whites and almond extract. When the mixture balls up around the blade, and then relaxes, it should be thick enough to scoop with a spoon. This takes only a minute or so.
  3. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the parchment with olive oil. Drop a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough onto the prepared pans with 16 cookies per sheet. Let rest, uncovered for an hour.
  4. Bake the ameretti on the middle rack in a preheated 325* oven. Bake one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes. The longer they bake, the crispier they will become. Let cool completely.
  5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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