Amaretti Recipe

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.

25 thoughts on “Amaretti Recipe”

  1. Yum! Having read this recipe, I think the 1/2 cup should be granulated sugar with turbinado sugar, optional on the next line. So happy you have returned.

  2. I really like the image of “turbaned sugar” 🙂

    Also, you seem to say powdered sugar in the ingredients list, and granulated in the method?

    – Jane (Proofreader-at-Large)

    1. Curse that auto-correct!

      And yes, there are two kinds of sugar in there. Both powdered that you combine with the almonds and granulated that goes in the meringue.

      Thanks for the assist, Jane!

      – Joe

    1. It’s a baking sheet with a high degree of focus. They’re the latest thing in speciality baking shops.

      Curse you autocorrect!

      – Joe

  3. To me, it’s not amaretti without the apricot kernel. Or any other stone fruit. I keep a stash in my freezer from our apricot tree’s produce each year.

      1. Inside the pit is the little bitter almond kernel, from which amaretto and most almost extracts are made. Cherries, nectarines, peaches, apricots, and plums all have them. They’re called noyaux. You just pound the pit with a hammer under a towel and pull it out.

        Technically I think they are slightly poisonous, so you’re supposed to toast them and that supposedly makes them edible. I’ve made amaretti with straight noyaux and they’re pretty bitter. I use about 25 percent noyaux to almond now. Then you don’t need all that flavoring.

        1. Oh yes I’m familiar with them. I just don’t know many people who have them on-hand!



          – Joe

          1. I came across a Syrian recipe for cookies a few weeks back that called for powdered cherry pits, “mahlab”. I had never heard of such a thing & ran to the internet to find (of course!) several places to buy it from. I have not done it yet but they are on my to do list.

          2. I’ve come across that ingredient before but I can’t remember what I used it for. What sort of cookies are you making?

            – Joe

  4. Lemme join the proofreading team and suggest that you add the words “granulated sugar” to the fifth line of the ingredients list, after “(1/3 cup plus two tablespoons).” It’s not hard to figure out, but it might spare some reader a moment of confusion.

    What’s the advantage of using the two different grades of sugar?

    Meringue, marzipan, macaroon? I’d call them almond macaroons, myself. I figure meringue is pretty much all eggwhite (and sugar), and marzipan is pretty much all almond (and sugar). These are midway between. I’m not claiming that’s official, mind you.

    1. Good lord, what was I smoking this afternoon?

      Thanks, nbm! As for the two grades of sugar, they incorporate differently. The powdered sugar incorporates smoothly into the almond mixture. Fine sugar isn’t needed in the meringue since it turns to syrup as soon as it hits the egg white. You could probably get away with granulated sugar in either case. DePalma probably figures: better safe than sorry!

      Cheers and thanks again!

      – Joe

  5. Joe!
    Could I substitute 6.25 oz of almond meal? I own every other esoteric bit of kitchenalia under the sun, but no food processor has ever darkened my countertops.
    Looking forward to making these tomorrow.

  6. Hmmm… hazelnut…. hazelretti?

    But hazelnut in Italian is nicciola. So… niccioretti?

    In any case, do you think that you could do this with hazelnuts? Then drizzle with chocolate and call them nutelretti. That doesn’t have the same ring as amaretti, but how would they taste?

    1. Hey Mari!

      I can’t think of a reason why that wouldn’t work. I’m not sure if hazelnuts have more or less oil than almonds, that’s the only thing I can think that might impact the texture. Try it and send me pictures!


      – Joe

      1. Oh man that sounds good! Yes this, please share if you try this, with or without the chocolate. Thanks for thinking of it.

  7. Joe – I have a couple of recipes for cookies
    Cherog, which is a butter cookie with mahlab. I chose it because it is so simple I figure it will tell me exactly what the ingredient brings to the party. Not to be confused with the Armenian cheorog, a bread that I think has mahlab in it also.

    And a date cherry cookie that I don’t remember the name of at the moment. I am sending way for the mahlad this week & will report on results.

  8. Joe:
    I made these using the almond meal but I’m a little disappointed with how they came out. I definitely had stiff peaks. They were very fluffy when they went into the oven but they flattened out. I’m wondering if I cooked them too long at 350? I cooked them until the edges were a little tan and they were just starting to crack. They do not look as high as yours ;-(

    1. Sorry to hear that, Janet! It may well be that your oven is running hot. That would explain the shape and color. Maybe lower it 25 degrees and try again.

      Good luck with them, Janet!


      – Joe

  9. If I’m not mistaken, these are gluten free, which would be wonderful for celiac people>

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