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Happy December! It’s my favourite time of year once again, and today I’m kicking off this years Christmas Kitchen with a family favourite we love to keep in the cookie jar and to pack up as gifts, classic Italian Amaretti Biscuits. They’re deceptively easy to make, and are fantastic with a sneaky glass of amaretto. I love the American idea of putting together a Christmas gift box of homemade cookies – these would be great for that, perhaps alongside some of my Orange & Festive Spice Biscuits, some Classic Gingerbread Men, and one of my absolute favourite festive recipes from last year, my Boozy Brussels Sprout Chocolate Truffles.
I’ve tried making amaretti a couple of times before, but all the recipes I’ve tried have either been too wet and have not set properly in the oven, or else they’ve been too heavy, and have lost that lightness that we all love from the best soft versions of this classic Italian cookie. This is one my Mum found in an Easter issue of Good Housekeeping and has since been translated to a hand written recipe card in her recipe box. It is very simple, using just five ingredients (they don’t contain any flour, just ground almonds making them naturally gluten-free).
We tend to make them together in a production line, her rolling little balls of dough together before dumping form in a plate of icing sugar for me to roll around and transfer to the baking tray.
These easy, classic Italian cookies are great served after dinner with a cup of coffee or packaged up as holiday gifts for friends and family. Recipe from a long-forgotten issue of Good Housekeeping.
2 Large Egg Whites
175g (6oz) Golden Caster Sugar
175g (6oz) Ground Almonds
1 tbsp Amaretto Liquor
Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees (300 fahrenheit) and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
In a large, clean bowl and using a hand held electric whisk (or using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer) bwhisk the egg whites until stiff.
Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the sugar, ground almonds and the amaretto.
Sift the icing sugar onto a large plate until you have a generous layer of sugar in which to roll your amaretti.
Using damp hands to prevent the mixture sticking (you might need to wash your hands a couple of times during this process so, if you can, do it near the kitchen sink!) roll the mixture into balls about 1 tsp in size, dropping them into the icing sugar as you go.
Wash and dry your hands, and roll the balls around in the sugar so that they’re well coated and transfer them to the baking trays, about an inch apart – you might need to do this in batches.
Bake the biscuits for around 20 minutes until they’re lightly golden and they’ve grown slightly in size. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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