I bet you thought I had forgot about my New Year’s resolution to make one International dessert a month but guess what?? I did not forget! As a matter of fact I made Brazo de Mercedes in January but things, shall we say, didn’t work out quite as I had planned. So we’ll come back to that another day. I’m still a little emotional about it.
I decided on Italian for February because, quite frankly, I REALLY wanted to make Amaretti cookies. The first time I had ever had them was when Jeremy and I visited Missouri Baking Company in St. Louis and I fell in love with the morsels of chewy almond goodness. I seriously think I have some kind of problem when it comes to almond-flavored things…meaning I have NO CONTROL over my hand and mouth. As I made the almond paste for this, my food processor had hardly had the chance to cool off before I starting shoving bites of the sweet almond mixture in my mouth. It was like an almond paste induced feeding frenzy. And then I remembered, “Wait! This has to go in a recipe!!”. Oh…yeah…the cookies. Almost forgot about them. Ahem.
I managed to gather myself and actually make the cookies. Go me. I wasn’t sure what recipe to use but I settled on this one from Smitten Kitchen. Her recipes always look so amazing and this is the first one I’ve actually made (I think). They turned out amazing…little crisp around the edges, majorly chewy and completely delicious. I did discover that the longer they sat, the softer they became which is usually totally opposite of how it is with baked goods of any kind. I made them on a Friday evening and by Monday they were still delicious. After Monday….well, I don’t know, because we ate them all!!
If you’re an almond lover such as myself, you MUST try these cookies immediately.
- 1, 7 oz. (3/4 c.) Tube Pure Almond Paste (Found in the baking aisle or you can make your own..which is what I did. See recipe below.)
- 1 c. Granulated Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Large Egg Whites, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
- ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
- 6 T. Powdered Sugar
- ¾ c. Almonds (original recipe calls for blanched but I just use raw, whole almonds)
- 2 T. Light Corn Syrup
- 1¼ t. Pure Almond Extract
- Process almonds, powder sugar and granulated sugar in a food processor until the nuts are very finely ground. Add corn syrup and almond extract and process until the mixture is thoroughly blended and moist enough to hold together when pressed in your hand. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and an air-tight container until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pulse the almond paste, sugar and salt in a food processor until broken up, then add egg white and puree until smooth. Using a 2 t. measuring spoon, drop batter onto pans, about 2 inches apart. They will spread quite a bit so make sure there is plenty of room between the cookies. I got 8 on the pan.
- Bake in the very center of the oven for 8 minutes, rotate pan and then bake for another 7 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from parchment paper. Store in an air-tight container.