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back in the saddle

Recipe: chewy amaretti

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

gently flatten

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

Chewy Amaretti
[print recipe]
from King Arthur Flour

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

17 nibbles at “back in the saddle”

  1. farmerpam says:

    Yay for early snow! May Ullr continue to smile upon you guys! Just starting to think about a cookie list for the fast approaching baking season , (the chocolate crackles are always on the list), thanks for all your tried and true recipes.

  2. AnnP says:

    Three weeks of R & R does a body (and mind) good and sometimes just HAS to be done. Hope you enjoyed it! These will definitely be on my cookie list to try… they look phenomenal! Hope your family has a wonderful holiday season. Love reading your blog; keep up the good work!!

  3. Kristin says:

    Ooh, I got very excited because we have a house guest who is gluten intolerant, but she also has problems with eggs. I will make these after she leaves. We love almonds and amaretto, so it is hard to have to wait! Glad you’re back, though the absence definitely isn’t as hard with Instagram Yuki and Neva fixes.

  4. Michele says:

    Vacation and some take out. Enjoy

  5. jill hyde says:

    Ohhhh, these remind me of my mom. Lovely. Glad you took some time for yourselves. xo, jill

  6. Kathy says:

    Your photos always make everything look so yummy and perfect…..not the way my kitchen looks when I bake/cook. I enjoy reading about your amazing recipes, seeing your gorgeous photos and hearing about your adventures. It is one of only three blogs to which I subscribe. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into it. Kathy

  7. Mary Karen Euler says:

    You were missed, but do what ya need to do to stay refreshed. This should be as fun for you and it is for your faithful readers! These cookies look divine…Grazie!

  8. Jill from Detroit says:

    I missed you! Was getting nervous that something was seriously wrong. I think you’re my favorite blogger because you are so real and honest and let us all see into a window of your life in the Rockies. I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning and I’m almost through 2010. (No life and recovering from back surgery so time on my hands.)
    The cookies look really good and as my husband loves almond will have to give them a try this Christmas.

  9. Pey-Lih says:

    WOW! Yes, yes…I am definitely an almonds fan, so this must be my cookie! I will attempt this over the holiday break. I love looking through your instagrams, and some of them made me chuckle. I am so glad that you are enjoying Yuki and it is working out both dogs. Taking a time out is good; it’s a balance. But when I do hear from you, it’s also a treat (for me). Thank you for the recipe!

  10. Lisa says:

    I missed you! The amaretto look yummy.

  11. Lisa says:

    Stupid autocorrect. Amaretti.

  12. angelitacarmelita says:

    I love, love, love almond and these cookies are also gonna happen at me casa! I’m a big fan of the almond cake that David Lebovitz has on his site from Chez Panisse, but that’s a whole cake, cookies are easier to eat and share! Yum!

  13. angelitacarmelita says:

    In addition, I’d like to echo everyone’s else’s sentiments, that we love you! and that taking time out for yourself is important, so we’ll take whatever you’ve got. xoxo

  14. jenyu says:

    farmerpam – Thank you for the snowy wishes and you’re so welcome for the recipes. I’ve always felt that one of the best things about the internet is the ability to share with others <3

    AnnP - Thank you! xoxo

    Kristin - I'm so glad you can get your fix on IG ;) It's much easier to throw an update on there as opposed to an actual blog post!

    Michele - xxoo

    jill - Aw, how sweet. Sending love <3

    Kathy - Such a kind note! Thank you and I appreciate your comment xoxo

    MK - Thank you, friend.

    Jill from Detroit - Best wishes for a quick recovery. Having back issues *sucks* and I empathize!! I hope the hubs likes the cookies!

    Pey-Lih - Thanks! I hope all is well :)

    Lisa - Amaretti AND Amaretto are both awesome in my book! xo

    angelitacarmelita - Now I'll have to go and try David's almond cake (I've made one of his almond cakes before, but not sure if it's the same one). And thanks for the comment <3

  15. Terri in KC says:

    I have just gotten back into sewing. Was there a specific pattern that you used for the dog beds? They look really soft and comfortable. Thanks

  16. jenyu says:

    Terri – They are dog blankets, but they are draped on top of each dog’s bed. No pattern. It’s a 48×48 inch piece of faux fur, fleece, and batting that are sewn together with a 4-inch margin (inside out) then the corners clipped, then pulled right side out through a 6-inch gap I left. I then sewed a 3-inch margin for a heavier edge and hand sewed the hole up.

  17. Kristin says:

    Oh wow…made these tonight, and they are delicious!! Great almond flavor, and the crunchy/chewy contrast is so nice. My husband decided they must be healthy because almonds are good for you! Thanks so much for sharing!

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