Italian Almond Cookies (Ricciarelli) - gluten free!
Recipe video above. These lovely little Italian cookies have a beautiful chewy texture and bursting with almond flavour. And because they're gluten free and dairy free, everyone can enjoy them!The almond sliver coating is something I copied from an Italian bakery in Sydney. It gives the cookie a great textural finish and makes it less fragile. Without it, you need to handle the cookie with care, and to me it feels less like a cookie because the crust is quite soft.These cookies are traditionally studded with dried cherries but other similar dried fruit will work in a pinch eg cranberries, or even raisins.
Keyword: almond cookies, italian cookies
2cups almond meal or blanched ground almonds(Note 1)
1/2cupcaster / superfine sugar(Note 2)
2tsplemon zest(1 lemon)
3dropsnatural almond extract
1/2cupdried cherries, chopped (Note 3)
2egg whites, at room temperature (from 2 large eggs, Note 4)
Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F (170°C fan). Line 2 trays with baking/parchment paper.
Combine Dry Ingredients: Place the almond meal, sugar, zest, almond extract and salt in a bowl. Whisk together until zest and almond extract is evenly distributed. Add the cherries and set aside
Beat eggs whites: Using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites and honey to soft peaks (Note 5). About 2 minutes on Speed 8 of a handheld beater, or 1 1/2 minutes on Speed 6 of a stand mixer.
Fold the beaten egg whites gently into the almond mixture. You will seemingly knock most of the air out of the meringue, that's ok! (You actually haven't :) ).
Forming & Coating Cookies:
Place Extra egg white in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until foamy. Place flaked almonds in another bowl.
Form 2.5cm/1" balls: Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and shape into a rough ball (2.5cm/1" ball). I do this using 2 eating spoons - we don't need perfect balls here.
Coat in egg whites: Drop the ball into foamy egg whites. Use 2 forks to turn to coat, then pick up and place in the flaked almonds.
Almond coating: Coat cookies with the almonds, pressing them on to cover as completely as you can. Don't worry if you get some double layers or pieces sticking out - no need to be neat or thorough here!
Bake 13 minutes: Place on prepared tray 2.5cm / 1" apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Start checking at 12 minutes to be sure the nuts aren’t burning
Cool: Transfer to rack to cool completely before serving.
Store: Store in an airtight container. They last up to 10 days in a storage container or can be frozen
1. Almond meal / ground almonds (same thing) - this is finely blitzed raw, whole almonds in powder form, used in place of flour to add a beautifully nutty flavour to cakes, makes them ultra moist and also gluten-free. Find it in the dried fruit and nut section or health food section of grocery stores.Making your own: 250g/9 oz whole, raw unsalted almonds, blitzed until powdered.Almond flour is slightly different but I am confident it will be work fine, though the almond flavour will be slightly less.2. Sugar - normal white sugar / granulated sugar can also be used.3. Dried cherries - This is optional, not strictly authentic / common. I include it because this recipe is based on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe which has it. Substitute with cranberries. Or other similar coloured dried fruit, like raisins.4. Large eggs - industry standard, labelled as such on egg cartons. 55 - 60g / 2 oz each. Separate the egg whites from yolks while eggs are fridge cold, it's easier. Then leave the whites in a bowl for 15 minutes to take the fridge chill out of them because they whip up better.Also, see here for recipes using leftover egg yolks.5. Almond Coating - Something I copied from an Italian bakery which gives the cookies a nice crunchy exterior. Without, they are fairly fragile so you need to handle with care, and they get softer with time. But it's not common to see with the traditional Italian Almond Cookies, so it's optional.6. Nutrition per cookie.