Soft Amaretti Cookies are a moist & chewy classic Italian cookie. This recipe has been tested until perfect making it the best ever gluten free recipe for amaretti morbidi. You are going to love them!
Soft Amaretti Cookies
Amaretti (plural) are almond flavored Italian macaroons that can have a texture ranging from soft and chewy to crispy. Amaretti can be found throughout Italy with each region claiming to have “the best” version of this cookie.
Without a doubt, the most famous commercially sold Amaretti are made by the Lazzaroni family in the city of Saronno located in the Northern area of Lombardy: Amaretti di Saronno. They are beautifully wrapped amaretti that come packaged in an easily recognizable red tin can. The Lazzaroni family have been making these Italian almond cookies since 1719.
Amaretti morbidi are, without a doubt, perfect for your holiday cookie platter. They also make great hostess gifts. There are endless variations that can be found for Italian Amaretti Cookies, but today I’d like to share my tested until perfect recipe.
If you speak a bit of Italian, you will have probably guessed that the word amaretti is derived from the word amaro, which means bitter. And so in order to get the true authentic taste of an amaretti, you must use bitter almonds. They aren’t readily available in North America, so I replaced them with bitter almond extract.
This Italian almond cookie recipe also calls for almond flour (if you recall, we also used almond flour in this other version of amaretti Cookies). The finely ground almond flour will provide a smooth texture that will taste like marzipan.
If you prefer a coarser texture, you can use blanched almonds, and grind your own. This will provide you with amaretti biscuits that still have that same great flavor, but with a less refined texture.
That perfect smooth texture and those pretty cracks on the surface of these chewy amaretti cookies depend on incorporating exactly the right amount of egg whites into the ground almond mixture.
That’s the challenge!
Come and take a look at how to make this amaretti cookie recipe… it’s a lot easier than you think!
How to make soft amaretti cookies
I have divided the process of making amaretti cookies as follows:
The dry ingredients: The dry ingredients consist of almond flour, sugar and lemon zest. It’s important to whisk the almond flour and the sugar really, really well together. We also need to add the finely grated lemon zest. Once everything is whisked together, set it aside while we whisk the egg whites.
The wet ingredients: The wet ingredients consist of 3 egg whites and bitter almond extract. With a whisk, beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage (ie: when the whites begin to curl). I then add the bitter almond extract, and whisk for another minute or so.
The combination: Gently incorporate the egg white mixture with the dry ingredients. In just a few minutes, the almond flour will absorb the egg whites and you will obtain a nice sticky mixture.
The rolling of amaretti: Begin by portioning the amaretti dough. I like to use a small ice cream scooper, that way, all of the amaretti biscuits will be the same size. I will then dampen my hands and press my palms into a plate of sugar (I picked up this trick from one of my favorite blogs, Jovina Cooks. Thanks Jovina 🙂 )
I like to roll them a little bit more in the sugar and then onto the baking sheet and into the oven.
That’s it! Simple right?
The only thing left to do is get the coffee ready because in just 25 minutes, you will not believe what will come out of your oven! The most delicious amaretto cookies!
Over thirty years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Sardinia. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean sea, and is geographically located to the west of Italy. I can still remember the landscapes and the turquoise waters- breathtaking and beautiful beyond words.
One of the best souvenirs I have from Sardinia was a conversation I had with a local merchant – she actually shared her Amaretti recipe with me! Even back then, I was curious about cookies and I guess she picked up on that. As was mentioned, the original recipe calls for bitter almonds, which I replaced with bitter almond extract, except for one year…
A few years ago, Vittoria (the same wonderful person that shared her Limoncello recipe with me) brought me a bag of processed bitter almonds from Italy. I used them in this amaretti recipe and the taste was incredible! For the record, you need to add about one ounce of these ground almonds. So, if ever you are in Italy, you can look for processed bitter almonds. Don’t forget to declare them at customs!
Hope you get a chance to try this recipe… would love to hear how they turned out for you.
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 these Amaretti Cookies, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Soft Amaretti Cookies
- 250 grams almond flour scant 2 1/2 cups
- 200 grams sugar approx 1 cup
- lemon zest of one medium lemon
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon bitter almond extract
- extra granulated sugar for rolling sprinkle 1/3 cup in a large dinner plate, set aside
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in the center.
- Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk almond flour and sugar together.
- Add grated lemon zest and whisk a few more times. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to a soft peak stage.
- Whisk in the bitter almond extract.
- Gently incorporate the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Once the dough is completely moist, you are done.
- Use the smallest ice cream scooper to portion the dough (about 1 tablespoon).
- With slightly damp hands, press your palms into the plate of sugar.
- Roll each ball of dough with your sugar coated palms and then again in the sugar found on the plate.
- Place on the paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown in color.
- Cool before storing at room temperature in airtight containers. Will keep for 3-4 days.
- Some recipes will recommend using superfine sugar. I use granulated sugar and am very happy with the results.
- Any almond extract that lists oil of bitter almond as an ingredient can be used.
This post was originally published on December 13, 2014 and republished on November 21, 2017 with updated content, photos and a video. Thanks for watching and sharing.
I followed the recipe and am completely satisfied with the results! It tastes even better than the cookies we bought from Italy!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!
These are truly fabulous! That hint of lemon makes these a next level accompaniment to my Christmas cookie tray.
How lovely Diane! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!
Love these. My favorite Italian cookie and easy to make. ❤️❤️
Thanks for sharing Diane ♥
Very easy recipe, quick to put together, quick to bake. Everyone who I have given these to has raved and asked for the recipe. ! Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Delicious
PS I cannot eat gluten so these are perfect
So happy to read this! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Barb, I appreciate it!
Hello! I am making these for the first time, after having them served at a resort hotel recently. Can I make ahead and freeze them??
Thanks so much for your interest Toni. Yes, they freeze wonderfully! Enjoy!
Jessica De Silver
Crispy exterior, soft interior. These are the best. Every year I make them without fail. Thank you for sharing! Long time follower first time commenter.
Thanks so much for your support Jessica! And thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you Maria, I have tried many of your recipes, I love them all, they’re all a great success. I plan to try many more. A memorable touch of Nona’s very best!! Tant’ auguri!!! Jane
Thank you kindly Jane ♥
Buon Natale to you and your loved ones!
Can I substitute wheat flour for the almond flour?
Thanks for your interest Lisa. No, unfortunately, you cannot.