Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies Recipe

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Ricciarelli – classic Italian Almond Cookies recipe with a chewy but light center and a perfectly toasty crust of thinly sliced almonds. Reminiscent of macaroons but originating from Siena Tuscany not France, these melt in your mouth biscuits are the perfect Christmas cookies. Naturally gluten free, dairy free and so easy to make, enjoy alongside a fresh espresso or cappuccino!

Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies

Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies

Brutti Ma Buoni – Ugly but Good Cookies! Pronounced ric-cia-rel-li and related to amaretti but softer and chewier, these classic Italian Christmas cookies are made with an egg-free dough that uses aquafaba instead of egg whites. Whipped just until frothy it lends them a divine and light center with the perfect chewiness.

Dust with some powdered sugar for a whimsical wintery presentation, one of the easiest and most delicious cookies you’ll ever make.

Not to be confused with Cantuccini – a hard, dry and crunchy almond biscotti which means “twice-baked” even though all biscuits are called biscotti in Italian. It is what it is!

Italian Almond Cookies

Ingredients Notes

  • Sliced Almonds or Mandorle – these are for coating the cookies before baking and it’s what lends them that divine nutty crisp and Brutti exterior. Alternatively pine nuts / pignoli can be used. If you leave out the nuts you’ll end up with a meringue like cracked surface which is fine if you are after that perfectly crackled ricciarelli. In this case you’ll need to roll the dough balls in powder sugar before baking. During baking the dough will expand and break through the exterior of the cookies and those golden cracks will show through the powdery white sugar.
  • Sugar – I used caster sugar also known as baker’s sugar which is just a superfine grind but not powdered sugar. You can make your own by grinding granulated sugar for a few seconds in the grinding machine. Alternatively you can just use regular sugar.
  • Almond Extract – You’ll need this to get that unique flavor. Yes you can use vanilla extract instead but your cookies will be more like vanilla cookies.
  • Orange Zest – Classic citrus touch to balance out the nuttiness of the cookies. Lemon zest works fine too.
  • Apricot Jam – This really helps with the overall texture of the macaroons and keeps the center chewy and moist. Alternatively honey can be used if you can source it locally from a honorable organic bee keeper in your area.
  • Almond flour vs almond meal – Not exactly the same thing. Almond flour is made from blanched ground almonds (skins removed) and has a fluffy texture finer than almond meal. Using almond meal will make your cookies too dense since it is made from almonds with their skins on.
  • Variation – Even though these really are almond cookies you can be a total rebel here and make them walnut or hazelnut cookies by simply swapping the almond flour for hazelnut flour and the coating for chopped hazelnuts. Add some dried fruit to the batter like cherries, raisins, apricots or cranberries, even dip them in chocolate if you want! I know, I said what i said!

Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies

How to Make Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together until combined.
  2. Beat the aquafaba until frothy then fold in the dry ingredients.
  3. Chill the cookie dough for 20 minutes then form 18 round balls.
  4. Coat in almond slices / flakes using your hand to help press and stick into the dough.
  5. Bake @375″F for 12 minutes.
  6. Allow the cookies to cool then dust with icing sugar for a whimsical Christmasy look.
Ricciarelli Italian Christmas Cookies
Italian Christmas Cookies
Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies
5 from 1 vote

Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies

Ricciarelli - classic Italian Almond Cookies with a chewy but light center and a perfectly toasty crust of thinly sliced almonds. Reminiscent of macaroons but originating from Siena Tuscany not France, these melt in your mouth biscuits are the perfect Christmas cookies. Naturally gluten free, dairy free and so easy to make, enjoy alongside a fresh espresso or cappuccino!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:12 minutes
Chill the dough:20 minutes
Total Time:42 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a medium size bowl combine the almond flour with the sugar and orange zest until incorporated. Set aside.
    2 cups almond flour, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 2 tsp orange zest
  • In a separate bowl whisk the aquafaba with a small pinch of salt until frothy. Add the almond extract and the jam and combine.
    1/4 cup aquafaba, 1 tsp almond extract, 1 pinch salt, 2 Tbsp apricot jam
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry mix. Use a spatula and fold until combined. Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes or so until chilled.
  • Once the dough is chilled use a tablespoon to scoop some out and shape into balls, they should look similar to golf balls. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  • Place the sliced almonds into a small bowl then roll each dough ball in them until covered. Use your hands to help press them into the dough. (Do not worry about the shape you are creating at all)
    1.5 cups sliced almonds
  • Meanwhile preheat your ovum to 375ā€F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place each cookie on top without touching each other.
    Ricciarelli Brutti ma Buoni
  • Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12 minutes and up to 14 minutes if you like the nuts extra toasty.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool before sprinkling them with some powder sugar or tossing to coat if a thicker coverage is desired.
  • Store uncovered at room temperature for up to 5 days or in a lidded container / cookie jar for up to 2 weeks. Watch for those rascal squirrels šŸ˜‰
    Ricciarelli Christmas Cookies

Video

Notes

  • Sliced Almonds or Mandorle - these are for coating the cookies before baking and it's what lends them that divine nutty crisp and Brutti exterior. Alternatively pine nuts / pignoli can be used. If you leave out the nuts you'll end up with a meringue like cracked surface which is fine if you are after that perfectly crackled ricciarelli. In this case you'll need to roll the dough balls in powder sugar before baking. During baking the dough will expand and break through the exterior of the cookies and those golden cracks will show through the powdery white sugar.
  • Apricot Jam - This really helps with the overall texture of the macaroons and keeps the center chewy and moist. Alternatively honey can be used if you can source it locally from a honorable organic bee keeper in your area.
  • Almond flour vs almond meal - Not exactly the same thing. Almond flour is made from blanched ground almonds (skins removed) and has a fluffy texture finer than almond meal. Using almond meal will make your cookies too dense since it is made from almonds with their skins on.
  • Variation - Even though these really are almond cookies you can be a total rebel here and make them hazelnut cookies by simply swapping the almond flour for hazelnut flour and the coating for chopped hazelnuts. You could add some dried fruit to the batter like cherries, raisins, apricots or cranberries, even dip them in chocolate if you want! I know, I said what i said!
  • Storage - store the cookies uncovered at room temperature for up to 5 days or in lidded containers / cookie jar for up to two weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: almond cookies, Christams cookies, Italian cookies, ricciarreli
Servings: 18 cookies
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Florentina

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