Friday, December 16, 2011


Christmas is around the corner, so I've started my holiday baking. I like to start early with some nut-based cookies, because of their ability to hold well in the freezer.

This post will be a series of three recipes, all involving nuts of some sort. By the way, all of these cookies are gluten-free and dairy-free (in case you were wondering).

The first type are amaretti, a classic Italian cookie. Traditionally, the nut portion of the ingredients came from the almond-like inner pits of apricots. Nowadays, almonds are used. I have made this recipe with different type of almonds. You can use almond flour, blanched almond meal, ground whole almonds, or even the left over almond mulch from making almond milk (which is what I've used today). (For my recipe for homemade almond milk, click here.)

Whatever type of ground almond you decide to use, you will require 2 cups.

Note: If using almond mulch from almonds that were previously soaked in water, you will yield a thinner and flatter cookie.

To the almond mulch, add 1 cup of sugar.

Next, you will need the whites of four eggs (8 tablespoons egg whites) poured into a mixing bowl.

Whisk the whites until they make stiff peaks.

Now it's time to inject some flavour. I like to add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the egg whites and give them a quick stir. Believe it or not, that's it for the wet ingredients!

Place your almond extract-infused egg whites on top of your dry mix.

Fold all of the ingredients together, until a dough is formed.

Drop, teaspoon-sized balls onto a greased, aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Be sure to leave approximately 2 inches of space between each cookie, as the amaretti tend to expand quite a bit when they bake.

I like to add an espresso bean to the center of each cookie. Coffee and almonds are always a good pairing.

Bake the amaretti in a 350°F oven for approximately 15 minutes. Wait for them to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet.

The end result will be a light and airy cookie with a pleasant roasted coffee surprise.

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