Italian almond cookies are called Ricciarelli, are chewy and full of wonderful almond flavor and topped with dried cherries. They have a shelf life of 10 days and since they are gluten and dairy free, there is something for everyone. It has an almond flavor that blows your mind, nice dense chewiness and a nice crackle finish. One of these cookies goes perfectly with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea, or, if you want to live a quintessentially Italian life, with a cappuccino.
Italian Almond Cookies
If there was one word to sum up these cookies, it would be rustic. In my world, that means not bothering to make her look perfect. These knobby balls can jiggle a bit. Some will be bigger than others. Almond flakes are all over the place and you may end up with bald patches. Some bits may have double layers of almonds. Some people have more than their fair share of dried cherries. Others will miss it. It’s ok! These cookies are meant to be totally imperfect – look at it. But they are perfect – eat!
What goes in Italian Almond Cookies
Just some notes on the ingredients:
Almond Flour (aka Almond Flour) – This is what we use in place of flour to make these gluten free cookies. It’s actually finely chopped raw almonds. It’s easy to find these days and sold in bakeries, dried fruit and nuts sections and/or in the health food section of grocery stores. You can also make your own by grinding 250 grams of raw, hulled, unsalted almonds into a fine powder in a high-powered blender (I use a Vitamix).
Almond flour is different, it’s made from hulled almonds that are shucked and flashed until they turn into a powder. It’s lighter in color (because the brown skin is removed), has a finer texture, and has slightly less almond flavor. While I didn’t use almond flour to make these particular cookies, I’m sure they will work based on other recipes where I swap out the two, like this orange cake;
Almond Extract – Made from almond oil, it adds a rich almond flavor to anything you add. It’s easy to find in grocery store baking aisles these days;
Almond Flakes (optional) – These are used to coat the cookies, giving them a nice textured crust and adding almond flavor. Without the almonds, the cookies will be soft on the outside and need to be handled lightly to make sure you don’t crush them.
Also from a food standpoint, when it’s soft inside and out, I think “cake!!!” and confuse it’s actually a cookie. So, the crunchy toasted almond crust makes these cookies more of my narrow-minded view of cookies – crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside.
Pretty sure it’s not strictly traditional. Dear Italian reader, maybe you can shed some light on this? But that’s how an Italian bakery in Sydney makes these cookies. I love it so I stole the idea!
Dried cherries (optional) – You won’t see dried cherries in a traditional Italian almond cookie recipe. But this particular recipe is loosely based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe, which includes cherries. I love it so I put it in because it gives these cookies something extra. But you can skip it, or substitute any dried fruit – cranberries, raisins, or even chopped apricots!
Sugar – I use superfine/powdered sugar here, it’s finer than regular sugar, which is the standard sugar I use for baking because it’s easier to incorporate into the batter. But for this particular recipe, regular (granulated sugar) will work too.
Egg whites (see here for a recipe using leftover egg yolks) – use so-called “large eggs” weighing 55 – 60 g/2 oz each. These are the industry standard sizes in Australia and the US. If your eggs are significantly larger or smaller, just weigh the different eggs and use a total of 110-120 g/4 oz (including shells) or a total of 100-108 g/3.6 oz unshelled (if you have a portion of eggs Useful to get the total amount you want. Break the eggs, beat the whites and yolks together, and pour into a bowl to measure out how much you need).
Use at room temperature – Eggs need to be at room temperature, not in the refrigerator, as they cook better when cracked. Quick way to reheat cold refrigerator eggs: Put eggs in a large bowl, cover with warm water (heat only, not heat), and let stand for 5 minutes. Wipe dry (to avoid residual water dripping into the bowl) and use according to recipe.
How to make Italian Almond Cookies
The beauty of this cookie dough is that it’s really forgiving. You don’t have to worry about overprocessing gluten like you would with flour cookies. It can last forever (like the hours I made the recipe video!) and it still works 100% flawlessly.
You can also rub with your fingers, but using a whisk will shorten this step (literally 5 seconds). Beat egg whites until fluffy – Beat egg whites with honey until soft peaks form. A “soft top” is an upgraded version of a “hard top,” which is what you want when making pavlova cakes because you need the stiffness of the meringue to hold its shape as it bakes.
For this recipe, we don’t rely on egg whites to make the cookies rise like this. It’s more about giving the cookie some air so it doesn’t get too dense. So we just need the soft peak – it looks like this: To make the batter – combine the beaten egg whites with the dry ingredients. When you mix them, you feel like you’re squeezing out all the air, but you’re not. Not quite!
We don’t have to carefully fold egg whites into the batter like almond cookies do we just use egg whites to lighten the mixture, instead of letting the cookies rise. Using 2 tablespoons, form a ball – Take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and form a rough ball (2.5 cm/1 inch). I use 2 tablespoons for this – we don’t need perfect balls here.
These cookies are meant to be rustic! Also, the cookies may look small at this stage, but the almonds will add bulk. Brush with egg whites – Place balls into a bowl of beaten egg whites and roll with two forks. This will be used to glue the almond slices to the cookies. When moist, the almonds slide around, but after baking, the egg whites become super glue!
Sprinkle with sliced almonds – then use a fork to place the cookies in a bowl with the sliced almonds. Sprinkle the almonds on top with your fingers, then pick up the whole thing (lots of extra almond flakes!), press the almonds on the ball, and shake off the excess. Again, we’re going to be rustic here! Don’t worry about sticking out almond slices, some naked, some double! Persistence is good, it works, it’s not!
On Trays – Place on two prepared trays, 2.5cm/1″ apart. Bake in oven at 180°C for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. After 12 minutes, start checking to make sure the nuts are not burning. Cool – Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Freshly baked cookies are soft, but the outside will crisp up as they cool. Sprinkling with icing sugar/powdered sugar is optional but they will give them a nice little finish don’t you think?
These cookies are perfect for parties because it seems inevitable these days that at least one person will be gluten-free. But aside from dietary requirements, these cookies will keep for up to 10 days in a super airtight container, which is another reason they’re so great. Especially if you choose (not really optional!) almond flakes coating as this keeps the outside nice and crunchy. Without it, the crust will soften over time. Either way, with or without the almond skins, they are delicious!
The popular gluten-free Italian almond cookies are made with just 3 ingredients. They are crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, making them one of the most popular Italian desserts. It’s easy to do, isn’t it? Experience making these delicious cakes yourself for your loved ones to enjoy. I’m sure they’ll be delighted. answerthequestion.net thank you and hope you will finish this dish!