These bakery-style Italian almond cookies have a dense, chewy texture that is simply irresistible. Piping these gluten-free almond cookies in different shapes makes them the perfect addition to your Italian cookie tray for the holidays or any festive occasion.
What is an Italian almond cookie?
This is a fascinating question because everyone has their definition of what this cookie should look and taste like.
A quick image search on google also provides you with vastly different results.
For example, you will find recipes for ricciarelli, dense almond cookies originating from Siena, and soft amaretti, known as amaretti morbidi in Italian.
This visual search also indicates some rolled in powdered sugar, some in granulated sugar and some glazed and garnished with sprinkles. Most are decorated with an almond, some with cherries, or even a coffee bean.
If we look at the list of ingredients, most of these recipes only use egg whites and are gluten-free since they use almond flour.
In summary, one can conclude that there are genuinely infinite variations for an Italian almond cookie. As you probably know, you can find them throughout Italy, with each region claiming to have “the best” recipe.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is unique in that whole eggs are whisked with sambuca, almond extract and lemon zest. This mixture is then combined with the dry ingredients, almond flour and granulated sugar and piped to perfection.
They are one of the best Italian cookies, whether adding them to your Italian cookie tray or gift-giving to friends and family.
What is the difference between almond meal and almond flour?
- coarsely ground almonds
- may or may not have the almond skin on
- finely ground almonds
- the almond skin is removed by blanching the almonds
Although either almond meal or almond flour works well in this recipe, it is recommended to use almond flour to achieve a fine-textured gluten-free cookie. It is the crucial ingredient to obtain a refined and smooth texture with the perfect amount of chewiness.
How to Make Italian Almond Cookies
This recipe comes together in no time. It consists of combining the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls. Then, add the wet ingredients to the dry, combine and pipe the cookies.
Let’s begin by preheating the oven to 325°F (160°C).
Position the oven rack in the center. Then, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
How to pipe Italian almond cookies
With the help of a pastry bag and a large star tip, you can then pipe these almond cookies (round or long) directly on the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You will notice that this is a very dense dough. If your plastic pastry bag splits at the seams, double up on the bag. Please refer to the video to see how this is done.
You can also use a small cookie scoop (about 1½ inches in diameter) to shape the cookies. Scoop the dough, scrape against the side of the bowl to get a flat surface and release the ball of dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet. That’s it.
Gently press an almond in the middle of the cookie with its tip facing upward.
This recipe provides you with well over ten dozen cookies about 1 inch in diameter.
- You can decorate each cookie with almonds, with the skin on or blanched. If you prefer, you can garnish with candied or Maraschino cherries or even a coffee bean.
- A sprinkling of granulated sugar right before they go in the oven is optional. Another option is a dusting of icing sugar before serving them.
- Once they are baked and at room temperature, you may want to give them a chocolate drizzle or perhaps dip teh bottoms of the cookies in melted chocolate.
Can the recipe be halved?
Yes, you can make a smaller batch of the recipe with excellent results.
How to store
Once completely cool, store them in an air-tight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. Separate the layers of cookies with either wax or parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. You will notice that when they are freshly baked, they are slightly crispy on the outside. After a few days, they lose this texture and become soft and chewy throughout.
Can these cookies be frozen?
Yes, these cookies freeze well and are convenient to have when friends pop over for coffee. Please place them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Separate the layers of cookies with either wax or parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Thaw at room temperature and enjoy.
There is no shortage of Italian cookie recipes, whether baking for the holidays, special occasions, or just because. If you are looking for an Italian cookie with a tender and cake-like crumb, you must try my mom’s recipe for anginetti or this recipe for ricotta cookies.
Throughout my adult life, I have collected well over twenty amaretti-type recipes. My folder has twenty-two recipes. Yes, I counted them and yes, I have an amaretti folder 🙂
Friends and family support this quest of mine, and I am forever grateful to all who continue to share their recipes with me.
I had the privilege of working with so many exceptional individuals that love food. There is a fantastic culture of sharing recipes and I have learned so much from my co-workers. It was Maria, one of my colleagues, that shared this recipe with me.
I did not have beginner’s luck with this recipe. Heck, it wasn’t until trial run number four that I was beginning to get the results I was looking for. The only reason I didn’t give up was that I knew how delicious they tasted! I hope that you get perfect cookies the first time you try this recipe.
If you like chewy almond cookies, you are going to love these!
Do you have a favorite almond cookie?
I would love to add it to my collection 😉
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community, where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this recipe for Italian cookies with almonds, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Italian Almond Cookies
- pastry bag with star tip
- 1 kilo almond flour approximately 9⅓ cups
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 1 small bottle almond extract 43 mL
- ½ cup Sambuca
- zest of one lemon organic
- 120 almonds
- OPTIONAL: a sprinkling of sugar over the tops before they are baked.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F (160°C). Position the oven rack in the center.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour with the sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the almond extract, Sambuca and lemon zest.
- Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and start combining it with a large wooden spoon. Then, knead it gently together until the almond flour is no longer visible.
- Allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- With the help of a pastry bag and a large star tip, you can then pipe these almond cookies (round or long) directly on the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You will notice that this is a very dense dough. If your plastic pastry bag splits at the seams, double up on the bag. Please refer to the video to see how this is done.
- You can also use a small cookie scoop (about 1½ inches in diameter) to shape the cookies. Scoop the dough, scrape against the side of the bowl to get a flat surface and release the ball of dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet. That’s it.
- Gently press an almond in the tip of the cookie. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar (optional).
- Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.
- If desired, switch to broil at the last minute to get golden tops. Watch them carefully as they darken very quickly.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Allow to cool slightly then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
This post was originally published on July 22, 2017 and republished on July 29, 2021 with updated content, photos and a video. Thanks for sharing!