- 2½ lb. almond paste
- 9 egg whites [extra large]
- 1½ to 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond extract
- grated rind of one lemon
- Line cookie sheets with parchment.
- Beat egg whites till stiff [the egg whites, not you]
- Add and blend in remaining ingredients till all is well blended.
note: When adding the almond paste, it works better if the almond paste is at room temperature and has been crumbled into very small bits, about the size of peas. Add the crumbled almond paste a little at a time, blending it into a small amount of the beaten whites. Once all of the almond paste has been added and blended in, fold in the rest of the beaten egg white mixture, sugar, extract, and lemon rind. Then proceed to step #4.
- Drop dough [about 1 teaspooful] into a bowl containing granulated sugar to coat.
- Place cookies on cookie sheet, leaving plenty of space between them.
- Stud with slivered or sliced almonds. [Optional]
- Bake at 350° F. for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Some ovens may heat hotter and it may be in your interest to check your cookies earlier to avoid burning.
- Remove cookeis from oven when done.
- Let them cool on cookie sheets 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.
- Cookies may be stored in or out of refrigerator, or frozen.
So once you go to the grocery store to buy some almond paste you'll probably have 'sticker shock' from the price, especially you you are planning on making several batches. The most cost effective way that I have found to purchase almond paste (NOT marzipan) is to order the 7 pound can from nuts.com. For ~$44.99 you get a 7 pound can and even with about $10 added shipping cost, its still much better than typical grocery store prices, even on sale. They usually deliver within 2 days. Whatever almond paste you don't use when you first open your can, you can package in smaller weight parcels and freeze. I double wrap one pound or 8 ounce portions in freezer grade Ziplock bags. If properly wrapped, it will keep like fresh for 2 years or more in the freezer.
If you decide to make amaretti, some things to know may be helpful:
- When you make amaretti, start with the almond paste at room temperature.
- I have found that crumbling the almond paste and whirling it with the sugar in the food processor till you have a small crumb-like mixture makes it much easier to evenly blend with the beaten egg whites and other ingredients.
- Among the options for finishing your amaretti cookies is to gently press half a candied cherry in the center of each cookie before baking it. You can also get red and green candied cherries from nuts.com. They actually have a tremendous variety of products.