I meant to take one week off from blogging as life began to (dog)pile up on me. I liked that week off from the blog so much it became three weeks. It’s a bit of an internal battle for me to give up as much time as I do to blog. Thanks for bearing with me as I reassess the balance of my time in the weeks and months ahead. If you seek the daily ins and outs of my life’s shenanigans, you can find those on my Instagram.
Life with Yuki continues to be mostly wonderful and a tiny bit frustrating. The frustrating aspects are just puppy stuff. And as puppies go, Yuki is pretty damn great. The snow has been falling this autumn, filling our high country with soft, fluffy white stuff. It’s been so good and cold that most of our ski resorts are opening ahead of schedule. The backcountry has been delightful, although there have been plenty of avalanches, so please be careful out there! Yuki went on her first ski tour over the weekend and had a blast. We think she will probably be a great ski dog if we can teach her to run forward instead of jumping on Neva’s head. I suspect much of that is the puppy in her.
yuki and neva on halloween
jeremy grabs some turns in the backcountry
moose passing through!
napping on new dog blankets i made (yuki chewed a hole in hers 2 days later)
yuki’s first ski tour – she’s a colorado mountain dog!
Today’s recipe for Italian amaretti cookies is RIDICULOUSLY simple, but took me forever to make. Why? Because I originally wanted to try a version that called for amaretto extract (not liqueur) and that amaretto extract got lost in the mail and has been touring the country for the past month. Thank you, USPS! Eventually, I settled on this recipe that doesn’t require amaretto extract (but I did add some amaretto liqueur). It packs all of the almond goodness into a tiny little cookie that is gluten-free, crunchy outside, and chewy inside. [EDIT: The bottle finally arrived 2 months after it shipped! Just in time for the holiday bakefest.]
almond extract, granulated sugar, powdered sugar (two bowls), salt, almond flour, marcona almonds, egg whites, amaretto liqueur
You don’t have to adorn your cookies with an almond (or a candied cherry) on top, but I love almonds and thought 1) it looks pretty and 2) it lets people with nut allergies know that this has nuts. Blanched almonds work well. I wanted to use marcona almonds for their extra sweetness, but all of the ones I found were flavored with truffle oil, rosemary, or sea salt. I bought some sea salt marcona almonds and rinsed them, then patted them dry with a towel. They worked great.
If you mix the dough by hand, it starts out sandy and unconsolidated, but keep at it and it will eventually turn into a sticky dough with the consistency of almond paste. If you use a stand mixer, the dough comes together in no time. I’ve tried both ways and I prefer using the mixer.
stir the almond flour, granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and salt together
add the egg whites, almond extract, and amaretto liqueur
mix until cohesive
form a 6-inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate
The dough requires a minimum of an hour of refrigeration. You can probably refrigerate for up to a couple of days, which is great if you need to make the dough ahead of time for cookie baking marathons. When you are ready to bake, take the dough out and divvy it up into 36 pieces. I weigh mine to ensure consistency in the bake – it comes to about 16.5 grams per ball of dough. I find it far easier to roll all of the dough balls at once and then roll them in the powdered sugar, otherwise the whole process becomes a veritable mess of powdered sugar. If your powdered sugar isn’t sticking to the dough balls, you probably live in a dry climate (like me). You can either give the dough balls a quick spritz with a spray bottle filled with water or you can moisten your palms with a little water and give each dough ball a quick re-roll before popping them into the powdered sugar.
shape the dough into 1-inch balls
roll each ball in powdered sugar
press an almond onto the top
bake until golden on the bottoms
If you are an almond fan, this is your cookie. It’s also a great gluten-free bake that doesn’t involve flour substitutions or gums. I think the texture is perfect the day of baking – a crunchy outer shell and a chewy inside. Because our climate is so arid, I store them in an airtight container. The cookies get crunchier with each day, but still maintain a chewy interior. I think of them as the less delicate cousin of the French macaron. These lovely Italian cookies are traditionally enjoyed with espresso, so I made Jeremy have some with a cup (since I don’t drink coffee) and he thought it was one of the best things ever. These amaretti will be included in my holiday cookie distribution this year.
sweet nutty bites
when you need a break from the world
3 cups almond flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites (~67g)
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp amaretto liqueur or 1/2 tsp LorAnn super strength amaretto extract*
1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
~36 blanched almonds or marcona almonds** or candied cherry halves (optional)
*I haven’t tested the recipe using regular amaretto extract, but I imagine it would be about 1 teaspoon for this recipe. I highly recommend the LorAnn super strength amaretto extract if you plan to make this recipe often. It has a much stronger and better flavor than liqueur in the cookies.
**Ideally I would use roasted marcona almonds with nothing else on them, but the only ones I could find with the least amount of stuff on them were roasted and tossed in olive oil and sea salt. I rinsed them in water and patted them dry. Worked just fine. Don’t use ones that have been tossed with truffle oil or rosemary – I think the flavor will be too strong and fight with the cookies.
Stir the almond flour, granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowl until blended. Add the egg whites, almond extract, and liqueur or extract to the dry ingredients and stir or beat on low speed until the mixture holds together (it will begin as grainy, but eventually becomes cohesive). Shape the dough into a flattened 6-inch diameter disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking sheet(s). Shape pieces of the chilled dough into 1-inch diameter balls. I weighed mine to be about 16.5 grams each for 36 cookies. Roll each dough ball in the powdered sugar and set 1 1/2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand and then push a single almond into the center. Bake 25-30 minutes (25 minutes for me) until the bottoms are golden and the cookies are still soft when pressure is applied (they will firm up when they cool). Allow the cookies to remain on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes 36 cookies.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|chocolate almond macarons (sucre cuit method)||italian rainbow cookies||chinese almond cookies||almond lace cookies|