4 December 2007


AMARETTI These well known Italian almond cookies, get their name from the Italian word ‘amaro’ meaning ‘bitter’ as they are made with bitter almonds & ‘etti’ indicating that they are small. Don’t be scared off, as most of you know, these cookies are anything but bitter, and the ones I make are not small!

Though I have to say that the Nona’s out there must have a hidden family secret or simply a magic fairy in the pantry, that allows them to make this recipe perfectly every time. Let’s just say that I was a ‘virgin amaretti maker’ a ‘babe in the kitchen’ and was in serious need of 1. a pair of training wheels 2. a Nona with a black belt in Italian patisserie and 3. to “borrow” that little magic fairy….

As my 1st attempt produced a very sad, poor excuse for amaretti …. they were lifeless and flat, and while the exterior was shiny & crispy, the biggest disappointment was yet to come – as biting into the cookie you were to discover – NOTHING, AIR, VOID, HOLLOW SPACE…. oooh that cannot be good I though.

So I went back to the drawing board. After much reading & baking, I came accross Yvonne’s recipe for amaretti’s. For this I have to say ‘chapeau’, my hat goes off to her – so impressed was I with these cookies, that I was inspired to create my own version based on her recipe – omitting the cocoa powder & almond decoration,  and using pure almond essence. These amaretti cookies are easy to make, have a lovely almond taste and a wonderfully soft centre!


  • 680g (1 1/2 pounds) ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 440g (2 cups) white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond essence (see NOTES below)
  • 30g of icing sugar for dusting the tops of the amaretti
  • 2 pinches of salt

detail amaretti

  1. Position the oven rack so that it is at the bottom of the oven.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F)
  3. Check that your ground almonds are as fine as possible. You can always pass them through a blender to make sure.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, salt and sugar, mixing well with a fork.
  5. Next mix in the eggs (all at once – no need to beat in advance), and almond essence.
  6. Line two cookie sheet with baking paper, and using a tablespoon, make round balls of cookie dough and place them on the baking sheet (leaving 2cm of space between each).
  7. Cook for 10 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven, then move the rack to the middle of the oven and bake of an additional 5 minutes.Leave to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
  8. Using a small sieve, sprinkle each cookie with a light dust of powder (icing) sugar.

NOTES: if you take 100g of whole almonds and grind them = 100g ground almonds. Yvonne’s recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa which is a nice alternative and should be combined with the almonds/sugar/salt. She also rolls her amaretti cookies in white sugar before baking them which you may prefer – instead of dusting them with icing sugar. If you do not have pure almond essence and are using almond extract (which is not as strong), you will need to using about 3 tablespoons in total – taste as you go!!

19 Responses to “AMARETTI”

  1. sognatrice Says:

    They look fabulous! Congratulations on your triumph!

    And what a coincidence…you posted these for P’s birthday and my blogging anniversary 🙂

  2. These sound quite good. Since I have to make blanched almonds for *something else* maybe I will make extra to try this recipe out! Thanks!

  3. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    SOGNATRICE: Hi lovely, thanks for your note. Can you believe that I finally posted this recipe – it has been a long time coming 🙂
    And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to P and your blog, wish I could be there to celebrate with you xxx

    GRETCHEN: thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice message. Do let me know how the recipe turns out if you try it, love to hear what you think. I am still working on variations… Just found a recipe for amaretti that uses whole eggs not just the egg whites. Please keep in touch. Off to look at your blog.

  4. yummm ~ i cannot wait to try these out on my fam …. we are big lovers of nuttie goodness just like these.

  5. Aimee Says:

    I love almond flavoring. Glad this recipe worked out for you. They look like adorable little snowballs!

  6. chocolateshavings Says:

    Your amaretti looks great! It’s such a nice treat to enjoy isn’t it?

  7. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    STUDIO WELLSPRING: ooooh do let me know how they turn out as I am interested in evolving this recipe. In fact my mom is coming to visit tonight and I am going to try a new version.

    AIMEE: Nice to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a note. And I never thought about it but they do look a little like snowballs – just in time for Christmas 🙂 Though sadly there is still no snow in Geneva!!!

    CHOCOLATESHAVINGS: I just love cookies, and am taken with the chocolate ones you just posted. They are on my to do list. Plus I saw on Aimee’s latest post some lovely pecan cookies. Tis the season!

  8. Dana Says:

    Mmmm, I looooove amaretti. As you say, ’tis the season for cookies! And my mother can’t eat wheat or gluten, so these cookies are perfect for her :).

  9. Kate Says:

    I can’t WAIT to try these (Saturday). My boyfriend and I are going to have a go at baking them and as a very sad celiac, I’m delighted that they’re gluten free!

    I love this blog, it’s making me a far better eater!

    xoxoxoxox from Toronto

  10. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    KATE: lovely hi, so sweet of you to drop by and also to leave a comment.

    Advice re this recipe – make sure you use normal what sugar, and NOT the extra fine variety or they do not turn out well ( I have lived to tell the tale…)

    I have been on a blogging break over the holidays, and will be back up and running with new recipes, finds etc as of this weekend. I am a fan of gluten free recipes – have you tried my chocolate cake recipe as it is also gluten free.

    Please keep in touch xxx hugs

  11. Angela Says:

    What gorgeous amaretti! They look like little mont blancs 🙂

  12. Marjorie Says:

    I, being the Mom of a “beautiful blogger”, was honored to be in the Sweetpea test kitchen and actually bake these amaretti cookies with her! They were easy to make, absolutely delicious and I think it is great that they are gluten free so lots of people can indulge! D, the cookie monster loved them too! Cheers to you for another super find. M x

  13. Ciao bella, just checking in to say hello and let you know that I’ve moved homes–come and visit 🙂

  14. happygrub Says:

    Just dropped by to say hi.. What’s cooking lately?

  15. Kim Grant Says:

    I’ve been trying to find a recipe of my Nonna’s that she makes at Easter time. You know how it is getting recipes passed along from any Nonna…. I’m wondering if Sweet Pea’s “failed attempt” with the “hollow inside” is exactly the cookie she makes. Does anyone know of a recipe for an Italian easter cookie that when baked it is completely hollow inside and the insides run out of it and are chewy?

  16. Anonymous Says:

    hey i saw that you mixed salt in with the sugar and almonds, but it doesn’t say how much in the ingriedients list. could you let me know how much?

  17. Jana Says:

    usually i buy the Amaretti in, because is a italian food shop, but this time i want try cook with this recipe.. i hope will begin good..

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