Anyone who knows Italian sweets knows that amaretti are quite popular. These cookies, which can also be made with my other favorite, hazelnuts, are perfect after a meal with a bit of espresso. Also, they freeze well, so you can make them ahead of time and then take them out an hour before serving. These are my mother’s signature cookies. Instead of parchment paper, she usually sprinkles the baking sheets with four. I’m still trying to master them!
Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
3 cups almonds (with skins), plus an additional 36 whole almonds
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, spread on 12 inches of wax paper (for rolling)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease three baking sheets with vegetable spray or line with parchment paper.
Using a food processor, pulse the 3 cups of almonds until they are finely ground. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and almond extract. Add the ground nuts and gently fold them together until you have a moist mixture that you can form into balls.
Using a teaspoon or your fingers, scoop up the batter and form balls, and then roll them in the confectioner’s sugar. Place the balls at least an inch apart on the greased baking sheet. Prior to baking, press one almond into each ball.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden in color and firm to the touch.
Let them cool before removing them from the baking sheets.