A very popular Christmas cookie in Italy is Ricciarelli. These cookies originate from Tuscany, in Italy. These are chewy and full flavoured almond cookies. They have a wonderfully chewy texture. Almond is not the only flavour since orange zest is used too.
These are very easy to make cookies. The is little required effort to make them. However, the elapsed time is significant. That is because you have to chill the cookie mixture. Then, when chilled, you shape the cookies. However that is not the end. The addition of icing sugar completes the preparation.
Then, with the oven pre-heated, we are ready to bake the cookies. They bake in just 18 minutes. Cracks will appear on the top of the cookies, which will be soft. However, once cooled the exterior will set firm. The result is very similar to a macaroon. The texture, as mentioned, is chewy. The intensely sweet flavour of almond is complemented by orange.
I was very pleased with my cookies. Once cooled they had the perfect consistency, firm and chewy. I greatly enjoyed eating these cookies. In fact I had to sample them more than once. These will surely be one of my regular bakes for Christmas. In fact I probably wont wait until next Christmas to make them again.
I used the traditional flavourings for my cookies. But I think these could be varied according to preference. These are perfect cookies, in my opinion.
Another very easy almond cookie, which is very similar is Almond Macaroons.
Ricciarelli – Italian Almond CookiesCourse: Biscuits & Cookies, Christmas
200g(1 3/4 cups+1 tbsp) ground almonds
200g(1 2/3 cups) icing sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
2 medium egg whites(large in USA)
5ml(1 tsp) almond extract
5ml(1 tsp) vanilla extract
zest from one orange
dash of lemon juice
- In a large bowl mix the orange zest into the ground almonds.
- Sift the icing sugar onto the almonds and mix to combine.
- In a bowl place the egg whites and lemon juice and whisk to stiff peaks.
- Add the vanilla and almond extracts and whisk to combine.
- Fold the egg whites mixture into the dry mixture to obtaiin a thick almond paste.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours(overnight is good too).
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Take small amounts of the mixture(about 22g is good) and form into balls.
- Dip each ball into icing sugar and then place on a baking tray, pressing to flatten and shape into an oval. Leave a good gap between each.
- Liberally sprinkle icing sugar over the top of each oval.
- Bake the cookies for 18 minutes, then take them out of the oven and leave them to cool for at least 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a rack to cool. (you can cool completely on the baking trays). The cookies will firm up on the outside but will be soft and chewy on the inside.