Cookie conundrum, part 1: Amaretti

amaretti1

I almost didn’t make these. I thought they were going to be ridiculously, ridonkulously difficult–I mean, they sell tins of these things at Balducci’s for, like, $10 a pop! That must mean they’re ridiculously scary and difficult! Despite my reservations, however, I was determined to avoid making a plain sugar cookie to represent half of the black and white ball; I was going to tackle these crazy confections if it killed me!

It, um, didn’t. Clearly. In reality, I’m not sure these could actually have been easier.

Three ingredients. These things have only three ingredients. They also require only one bowl–the one on your food processor. The most complicated thing about them is the fact that you have to pipe them on to the baking sheet, and that’s not so much complicated as just requiring a certain amount of precision (these cookies puff up exponentially in the oven, so you really want to make sure your batter drops are no more than 3/4 of an inch, or else you will find yourself with an amaretti sheet cake).

amaretti2

As an aside, these are the only cookies I’ve ever made that turned out to look exactly the way I’d anticipated (i.e., exactly like any store-bought variety, except better because it’s homemade), if that gives you any sense of how easy this recipe is, and how formidable an achievement it will seem to your audience.

And thus, I declaim these cookies an excellent party food–they’re elegant, delicious, store for days in an airtight container, and won’t drive you crazy. You don’t need to admit anything to your partygoers; let them think you slaved.

Chewy amaretti cookies
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, January 2009

1 (7oz) tube pure almond paste (not marzipan!)–roughly 3/4 c
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature for 30 minutes

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line rimmed cookie sheets with parchment
  2. Pulse the almond paste and sugar in a food processor until about the consistency of sand.
  3. Add the egg whites and pulse again until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe on to prepared sheets in 3/4″ rounds (1/3″ high)
  5. Bake until golden and puffed, about 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through.
  6. Cool cookies in pans on racks until COMPLETELY cool.
In baking, cookies, new year's eve, parties

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