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!



INGREDIENTS:

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

PREPARATION:

TIME: 15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to bake
    Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C).
    In a large bowl, combine the almond flour with the sugar, salt and lemon zest.
    Add the vanilla extract, almond extract and the egg whites. Mix well until you get a soft and still a little stick dough. Add more egg white if the dough is too dry, or a little more almond flour if too wet.
    Roll the dough into balls, about one tablespoonful each.
    Roll into the powdered sugar, if you like. These cookies 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 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden at the bottom and around the edges. Let cool down and enjoy!




    28 comments:

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. 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!!

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

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

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

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    4. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table,but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
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    5. It is nice to see an article dedicated to this important topic. Thank you for sharing.
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    6. Is there any safe sugar substitute that you can use?

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    7. Sugar substitute sacreligious to an italian but if you must. Lol
      How to substitute 1 cup of sugar. To replace 1 cup of white sugar you can substitute it for 3/4 cup honey, or 3/4 cups maple syrup or 2/3 cup agave or 1 teaspoon stevia.
      Good. Luck i might try this myself too

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    8. Love these! I would like to try with a bit less sugar to see if they hold together.

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    9. Replies
      1. I just used a whisk to break them up a bit. It was fine.

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    10. I don’t have almond flour can I use all purpose?

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    11. Is there any way to print this recipe?

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    12. There's no butter in these, which means they're healthy and I can eat the whole batch, right?

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    13. Wow they came out amazing!
      I impressed myself, how good and easy they were to make!
      Thanks 😊

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