Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Amaretti Cookies

I love almond flavored baked goods and if a pastry has almond paste, even better.  The bakery in Claremont makes some of the best almond croissants that I've ever had and I seriously have to avoid that place or else I'd eat way too much.  I've been intrigued by this Amaretti cookie recipe since it a) only has 3 ingredients, b) is basically almond paste, and c) is gluten free and dairy free.  I finally tried them out this past weekend.  Middle, my helper, was quite disappointed that there wasn't more to measure and mix but we finished this project pretty quickly and the results were great.  The almond flavor is strong as you would expect an amaretti cookie to be, but I filled some with raspberry jam (homemade by my friend Ellen) to create sandwich cookies and that helped balance the flavor a bit.  

My husband observed that these are a lot like macarons - chewy yet light - and he didn't love them as much as me but he still ate his fair share!  I'm imagining all kinds of other fillings . . . nutella, chocolate ganache, fig jam . . . these are definitely going into the rotation of gluten free Christmas cookies!  

A couple of baking notes:  the cookies spread a lot so make sure you use small dollops and leave space between them.  As always, check your almond paste to ensure it's gluten free if you need to avoid wheat.

Amaretti Cookies (4-6 dozen)
from Smitten Kitchen

1 (7oz) tube almond paste
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

Pulse almond paste, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer until broken up and mixed.  Add egg whites and mix at medium high speed until smooth.  Place dollops of batter (approximately 1 T) on cookie sheets, leaving plenty of space between them.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through) until puffed and golden brown, about 14-17 minutes.  Let cookies cool almost completely on the pan.  Once they've cooled off, they're easier to remove from the parchment paper.  Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two.  On Smitten Kitchen, it says they can be frozen for up to a month.

If desired, use your choice of filling and make sandwich cookies.

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