|Here are my little amaretti dusted in icing sugar.|
Amaretti means 'little bitters/little bitter things'. I'm not exactly a fan of the really brittle, very bitter amaretti you can get, although they're very nice crumbled onto peaches bound for the oven, or layered with berries, coulis and mascarpone for a really easy summer dessert. I am a fan of the really chewy ones, the ones that cost a fortune, so I've always tried to recreate them at home, often to great disappointment. The recipe in Indulge by Claire Clarke of the French Laundry was possibly the worse ever. My God they were awful (other things in this book weren't, so an aberration).
Anyway, Joanna of Zeb Bakes recently posted a recipe for Hazelnut Amaretti which I was determined to try.
I'm not a fan, believe it or not, of things coated in chocolate. Like I cannot understand people who coat strawberries in chocolate. It's all wrong to me. So I had no desire, whatsoever, to coat or drizzle my amaretti. But if you have such a desire, do follow Joanna's recipe in its entirety and not the one below.
Anyway, here's what I did.
250g of ground almonds
250g hazelnuts, with skin on, ground in my mill attachment of my Kenwood chef (note: Joanna used 200g hazelnuts and 50g of pistachios, I didn't have any of the latter)
4 egg whites
400g caster sugar
half a teaspoon of Amaretto di Saronno
You basically mix everything up together. You don't whisk up the egg whites. You'll end up with a sticky, heavy dough which tastes very nice. Roll out little balls and place on a baking tray lined with parchment.
Now, perhaps if your dough is wetter, the amaretti will spread out more. My dough was sticky but solid and so my amaretti didn't spread and thus I was able to get quite a few on my baking tray. Don't ask me how many this recipe makes cos I didn't count but I'd say at least 30!
Bake at 160C. Joanna says between 12 mins and half an hour. I did my first batch for 29 mins which resulted in a very crisps amaretto with some chew inside - I actually really like them like this and they look golden (they should still be soft when you take them out as they firm up as they cool). I did the other batches for 20-22 mins which resulted in a paler, much chewier amaretto. Experiment and see how you like them.
They are excellent and very filling! I was thinking that these are a relatively high protein biscuit - with the nuts and the egg whites and gluten free. Would make delightful little presents too as they travel well.