1. Went to a Baptism…party followed at the house.
2. After a delicious dinner…dessert time…HUGE tray of Italian cookies baked by “Grandma”.
3. Ate a half-dozen of these gems…TOTALLY needed the recipe.
4. Stalked “Grandma”. Got her alone (very important), complimented her gorgeous cookies, took a deep breath and asked for the recipe.
5. “Grandma” had a razor-sharp memory and was a good sharer. Here’s the recipe:
Italian Amaretti Cookies
1 pound almond paste
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Granulated sugar for rolling
Pulse almond paste in food processor until small crumbs. Pour into large bowl. Stir in confectioners sugar by hand. Whip egg whites until stiff, then fold them into almond paste mixture. If desired, add almond extract. Refrigerate overnight.
Scoop batter into balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press cookies down slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer cookies to cooling rack.
I used a 1 1/2″ cookie scoop, and the yield was 36 medium cookies. I also opted to add the almond extract, and the taste was tremendous.
Since I was bringing them along to an evening picnic concert, I tucked two cookies into a glassine bag and tied the top with baker’s twine:
These cookies are fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I think they would be wonderful rolled in pine nuts (pignoli) in addition to, or instead of, the granulated sugar. This recipe is definitely a keeper, and it is destined for my annual Christmas Cookie Tray.
A big thank you to “Grandma” for not avoiding me as I trailed her for 15 minutes, and for being so eager to share her treasured recipe. And, oh yes, there were many other cookies on that tray that I’d love the recipes for.
I wonder if “Grandma” needs a new BFF.