amaretti. Amaretti are special little biscuits, for they might not be lookers per say, but once you take your first bite you get why these guys have stood the test of time to have become classics. The nice thing about them as well are that they are ‘naturally’ gluten free, aka. the recipe was not adapted in any way for us coeliacs to be able to enjoy (hooray!). And hey, they are also an absolute piece of cake to make, if you don’t mind me saying (keep this on the down low please).
These little Italian biscuits also hold a special place in my heart. You see, it was the first (baking) recipe which I successfully carried out back in my university years, and you just never forget your first.
I was a late bloomer in the kitchen, and only became truly interested in my later years of university (shame on me). There was loads (loads) of experimentation (most of it pretty unsuccessful, to say the least), but after a while I got the hang of baking (precision, precision, precision).
Easy peasy to whip up, but with a taste that rivals even the most complex of biscuits. Almond flour, sugar (I have since switched to evaporated cane juice and it works perfectly), egg whites and a dash of almond extract (please use natural, it makes an absolute difference). That’s it.
A crunchy crust and a soft and chewy centre, it is no wonder these are an Italian staple. Give them to loved ones in little baggies (I have) or simply make for yourself (I have as well), these keep extremely well for at least 3 days (probably longer, but they are always gone at chez van der Hulst before I can test the theory).
- 220g almond flour
- 150g (2/3 cup) evaporated cane juice (you can use normal sugar if you prefer)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp natural almond extract
- powdered sugar, for dusting* (optional)
- butter or coconut oil, for greasing
- Grease a baking sheet and set aside (they tend to stick to wax paper).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour and evaporated cane juice until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold in the egg whites to the almond mixture. When roughly half way through incorporating the egg whites, add the almond extract and continue to fold gently. Be careful not to overmix.
- With a spoon (or just your hands and a good eye), gently form balls and place on the baking sheet. Let rest for two hours.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake for 10-15 minutes (10 if you prefer them softer and 15 if slightly more crunchy), or until tops are golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from the baking sheet and store in a cool dry place (these keep well for a few days).
- Dust with powdered sugar (optional).
**I have never had the opportunity to keep them for more than 3 days (always gone before!)- but up until then, they still taste heavenly. Either wrap them up in tin foil or store them in a jar.
*** For best results, the ingredients in this recipe should be weighed as the ratios do require precision