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Happy new year! I thought I’d start out 2022 by sharing one of my favorite back pocket recipes, amaretti cookies. Amaretti are one of my favorite things to make when I have extra egg whites — they’re super simple to make, store well, and have a delightful chewy texture. If you love marzipan and/or almond-flavored bakes, you will love amaretti! They also happen to be naturally gluten and dairy free.
While classic amaretti never disappoint, here I’ve added a little cocoa and espresso powder for brownie-esque vibes. Go for a very good quality cocoa powder here — I like Cacao Barry Extra-Brute for its deep flavor. Likewise, make sure you use a pure almond extract that you love as its flavor is prominent in this cookie — I like Nielsen-Massey.
Amaretti get their signature crackles from a coating of icing sugar applied just before baking. As the cookie expands from the oven heat, the fissures that form contrast with the stark white of the icing sugar. I also like to toss the dough in a light layer of granulated sugar before the icing sugar, which gives the coating a little extra crunch.
I hope you enjoy these chewy brownie amaretti cookies. To me, they’re the perfect teatime treat and just the right size for satisfying a sweet craving. Enjoy!
Chewy brownie amaretti cookies
Makes 22-24 cookies
For the brownie amaretti cookie dough:
- 180g almond flour, preferably blanched and superfine
- 15g good-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I like Cacao Barry Extra-Brute), sifted if lumpy
- 180g granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 70g (about 2 large) egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or 1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 20g granulated sugar
- 50g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 325F with a rack in the middle. Line a large baking sheet (at least 1/2 sheet size) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and espresso powder until very well combined. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice, if using, in a spotlessly clean medium bowl (preferably glass or metal, not plastic). Using an electric handheld mixer (or a whisk and some elbow grease), whip on medium speed until soft peaks. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and whisk just until combined.
Add the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Use a flexible spatula to fold the two mixtures together. The dough may seem crumbly at first, but keep folding until homogenous and all the dry ingredients are moistened. You may need to use your hands towards the end. The dough should be stiff but a bit sticky.
Place the 20g granulated sugar and the 50g icing sugar in separate small bowls.
Using lightly damp hands or a small cookie scoop, portion the dough into small balls (about 20g each). Roll each ball into a sphere. Toss each ball first in the granulated sugar followed by the icing sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about an inch apart. The amaretti won’t spread much — you should be able to fit all the cookies on a single sheet.
Bake until cookies are lightly puffed and the tops are cracked and firm, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before eating. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Make-ahead: You can freeze the unbaked dough balls before tossing in the finishing sugars. Place the dough balls in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze uncovered until firm, then transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container. Bring to room temperature, then toss in the sugars before baking.
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