For simple-but-elegant Italian preparations like these I always turn to Gina DePalma first, and she rarely disappoints. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by a Gina DePalma recipe come to think of it, which is why I recommend her book, Dolce Italiano so highly. This recipe is in The Babbo Cookbook. If the ingredient list looks an awful lot like what you’d need to make marzipan, that’s no coincidence. Amaretti are basically baked, fluffy marzipan.
6 1/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) blanched whole almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 ounces (1/2 cup) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
2 egg whites
2.75 ounces (1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon Amaretto
3.75 ounces (1/2 cup) turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the almonds, cornstarch and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely chopped. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip. Add the salt and whip until the mixture is foamy. Add the granulated sugar in a stream until the egg whites reach the stiff peak stage, then whip in the almond extract and amaretto.
Gently fold the almond mixture into the egg white mixture. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with just the collar and pipe 1″ rounds onto greased baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with turbinado sugar if desired.
Bake the amaretti for 15 minutes or until the cookies are a pale gold color and begin to crack on the tops. Lower the oven temperature to 200 and prop open the oven door with a spoon handle to let some of the heat out. Leave the amaretti in the oven for about another 30 minutes, until they are dry and crisp in the center. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container.