How to Make Crackly, Chewy Amaretti Cookies
Almond lovers will go nuts for these chewy Italian amaretti cookies. An added bonus? They're gluten-free!
While “almond” translates directly to “mandorla” in Italian, amaretto is also synonymous with the nutty flavor that we all know and love. Similar in name—and taste—are amaretti, Italian cookies that are perfect for making around the holidays. Their crackly tops dusted with confectioners’ sugar make them look especially wintery, and the fact that they happen to be gluten-free means that more of your loved ones can enjoy these Christmas cookies without a second thought.
To make them yourself, you’ll probably only need to pick up almond flour and almond extract. All the other ingredients are baking staples you should have at home already. Now, get cracking!
How to Make Amaretti Cookies
- 3 large egg whites
- 2-1/4 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Step 1: Prep the egg whites
Place the egg whites in a large bowl, and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Whisk the dry ingredients
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, whisk almond flour, sugar and salt.
Test Kitchen Tip: Make sure you don’t accidentally use almond meal instead of almond flour. They’re two different ingredients! Almond flour is more finely ground than almond meal.
Step 3: Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Then, beat on high until soft peaks form.
Step 4: Add the extracts
Beat in the almond and vanilla extracts. Make sure to beat for only a little bit longer to avoid collapsing the egg whites.
Step 5: Add the egg whites to the almond flour mixture
Fold the beaten egg whites into the flour mixture until just moistened. The dough will be grainy and sticky. Again, don’t overmix!
Step 6: Roll the cookie dough into balls
Scoop level tablespoons of cookie dough, and drop each into a bowl of confectioners’ sugar. Roll into a ball, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart.
Step 7: Bake the cookies
Bake until lightly brown and tops crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Are Amaretti Cookies Gluten Free?
Yes! Since this recipe uses almond flour (as opposed to regular, all-purpose flour), you can count on amaretti cookies as being gluten-free. Here are more gluten-free cookies and gluten-free baking recipes if you want to make a whole tray of gluten-free desserts.
Amaretti Cookie Variations
While amaretti cookies are known for their almond flavor, you could swap the almond extract for another flavoring of your choice. You could roll the dough in chopped, sliced almonds instead of confectioners’ sugar. Give the amaretti cookies a little extra flair by pressing a whole almond on top of each cookie before baking—even though they’re gorgeous as is!
Why Are My Amaretti Cookies Flat?
Deflated egg whites = flat amaretti cookies. If you don’t beat the egg whites enough, there won’t be enough air whipped into them to get soft peaks, which helps the cookies puff up while baking. On the flip side, if the egg whites are overbeaten or stirred too much when incorporating them into the rest of the amaretti cookie dough, they’ll collapse, also resulting in a flat cookie.
The egg whites are also why you shouldn’t prep these cookies ahead of time. If you were to make the dough and store it in the fridge until baking, you’re giving the beaten egg whites time to deflate. Try one of these make-ahead Christmas cookies instead if you want to get a head start on holiday baking.
How to Store Amaretti Cookies
Once the amaretti cookies have completely cooled, transfer them to an airtight container at room temperature. They’re best eaten within two to three days—otherwise, you can freeze them for up to three months.