Sicilian Almond Paste Cookies, known in Italy as Paste di mandorla. They are made, as the title suggests, from almond paste.
There are lots of variations, but on a main theme of the paste, for these lovely cookies. I based mine on a recipe I saw on Giallozafferano’s Youtube channel.
Basically a simple almond paste, which is flavoured with some almond extract too. The dough is rolled or piped into shapes and topped, or filled, with cherry, almond or any number of other enhancements.
Although they are often just a plain paste additional flavours such as lemon or orange zest or maybe some spices can be added if desired.
These cookies are very simple to make, as can be seen in my video. Although I made my cookie dough quite loose, so it could be piped, an alternative method is to make a thicker dough which can be rolled into balls. Those balls can be rolled in sugar, chopped nuts, coconut etc to added extra texture too.
Thickening the dough is easy, adjusting the ratio of ground almonds to liquid. Then it can be rolled in the hands to create the shape.
I loved how mine turned out, with a firm exterior and a densely chewy centre. The cookies tasted great, with that lovely almond flavour. The cherry on top, and the almond, was the perfect accompaniment.
I am sure that lovers of amaretti biscuits will enjoy these cookies.
I enjoy almond paste so much that I often return to my Almond Stuffed Cookies – Gevulde Koeken recipe. My Amaretti recipe is excellent too.
Sicilian Almond Paste CookiesCourse: Biscuits & Cookies, ChristmasCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
200g(2 cups) ground almonds
3 medium egg whites(large in USA)
140g(3/4 cup minus 2 tsp) caster sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 glace cherries, halved to go on top
10 blanched almonds to go on top
water loosen dough for piping, if required.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- Place the ground almonds and sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy.
- Pour the egg whites into the dry mixture and add the almond extract as well.
- Stir the mixture together until it is all combined into a thick, sticky dough.
- If the dough is too thick to pipe add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time to loosen it just enough.
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag that has been fitted with a star shaped nozzle.
- Pipe the dough onto the parchment paper, making 20 circles or stars, leaving a gap between each.
- Top each of the individual shapes with half a cherry or an almond, pressing down slightly.
- Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies have coloured a little.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then gently peel them off the paper and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.