Friday, March 2, 2018

Italian Almond Cookies - Pasticcini alle Mandorle

 These classic Italian cookies are very easy to make, and extremely easy to eat :) 
Intensely nutty and perfectly sweet
Chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
What more could you want in a cookie?  

I'm so excited today to share with you the recipe of my favorite Italian pasticcini. Pasticcini are small, cookie-size fine pastries that you'd buy in an Italian pasticceria or bakery, generally served as a dessert, but also amazing next to steaming-hot cup of coffee or tea. At any time of the day, really!

Almond pasticcini are a traditional Sicilian pastry, but common in every part of Italy.  There are a few variations of these cookies. You can make them with just almonds, or add a little aroma, like pistachios, amaretti, orange extract ... Because my trees in the backyard are exploding with juicy lemons, in today's recipe I added some lemon zest, just like they do in Puglia. If you try these, I'm sure you'll fall in love too with the flavor combination of almonds and lemons. Truly a match made in heaven!

I recommend using almond flour for these cookies, which is made from ground blanched almonds. You could also use flour meal (generally made with whole almonds) but the result would be a little more crumbly and not as soft. 
You can decorate them on top with a whole almond, just like I did, or a candied cherry. Delicious either way.
And as a final optional-but-highly-recommended touch, roll the almond dough in powdered sugar. It gives a crispy outer shell when baking, and the fun and unique look of these cookies. 

Ready to try this recipe?! If you do, I'm sure  they'll be your new favorite pasticcini too!


YIELD: about 22 cookies
    • 3 cups (300 gr) of almond flour 
    • 1 cup (200 gr) of sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • zest of 1 large lemon (or 2 small)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
    • 3 egg whites (medium eggs)
    • powder sugar for dusting, about 1/4 cup (optional)
    • about 22 whole almonds (one for each cookie)


TIME: about 30 minutes
    Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C).
    In a large bowl, mix the almond flour with the sugar, salt and lemon zest.
    Add the vanilla extract, almond extract and 3 egg whites. Mix well until you get a soft and still a little stick dough. Add more egg white if too dry, or a little more almond flour if too wet.
    Roll the dough into balls, about one tablespoonfull each.
    Roll into the powdered sugar, if you like. These are also great without the white sugar on the outside.

    Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    Top each cookie with an almond.
    And bake at 325° F (165° C) for about 15 minutes. Let cool down and enjoy!


    1. I'm trying these this weekend. I have a ton of almond flour because I am trying to get away from wheat flour and this is the perfect recipe to try. Thanks so much!!

      1. YES!!! This is easy and so delicious! Let me know how it goes. Share pics if you’d like! Have an amazing weekend

    2. This recipe must be soooo delicious! I really love these kind of cookies!

      1. Thank you!! I love almond desserts... and this is one of my faves!