You really must try these delicious, gluten-free Chewy Amaretti Cookies. They’re quickly and easily made and are absolutely delicious, with versatile, delicately flavoured almond, the star of the show.
Place blanched almonds on a baking tray, bake for approximately 6 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are a light golden shade.*Remove from the oven and leave them to cool while you prepare the cookies.
Prepare two baking trays by lining them with non-stick baking paper.
Add almond meal, sugar, egg whites and essences to a bowl.Using a stand mixer, or hand-held electric beaters, mix the ingredients together for about 2-3 minutes to ensure they are well blended.Stand the mixture for 5 minutes.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ½'”/1.25 cm plain nozzle. It is easier to fill the bag if you stand it in a coffee mug, or something similar, to provide some support.Firmly twist the top of the bag to keep the mixture in place.
Hold the piping bag at a 90o angle, that is, hold it straight down and slightly above the baking paper. Apply gentle pressure until your mixture reaches the desired diameter. Release the pressure and then quickly sweep the tip sideways. The mixture should spread evenly.Leaving a gap of 2 ½ cm/1” continue to pipe the cookies.You will be left with a small peak in the middle of each cookie.
Dip a fingertip in a small dish of water and gently flatten the peaks.Add a blanched almond to the centre of each cookie.
Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.Remove from the oven and leave on the tray to cool.
Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to wire racks.Store the cookies in an airtight container.
*Almond meal is also known as almond flour.*Use ½ teaspoon of almond essence if you like a more pronounced almond flavour.*The almonds I used each weighed approximately 1gm.*Do not allow the almonds to colour too much; they will colour a little more during baking.*Practice makes perfect so don't expect to be spot-on the first time you pipe these cookies. . Give yourself time to practice and remember that a misshapen cookie tastes just as good as a perfectly round one. I frequently find it takes a while to “get my hand in”. When making this batch the first two were not good so I scraped the mixture up and put it back in the bowl.*Using a piping bag with a nozzle ensures you get nice even circles.*You may prefer to roll the mixture into balls using your hands and then flatten – I haven’t done it this way, the mixture is very sticky, for me the piping bag is the best option.