These delicate Christmas Cookies are traditional to the city of Sienna in the Italian region of Tuscany. Legend holds that they were introduced by Ricciardetto della Gherardesca in his castle near Volterra upon his return from the Crusades in the 14th century. Like soft/chewy amaretti, these will not disappoint. They are a popular dessert treat in Italian homes and pair well with dessert wines like Vin Santo or Moscadello de Montalcino. Kate has added these delicious cookies to her portfolio and they are becoming one of our favorite holiday traditions.
Here's the recipe!
2 cups ground almond flour or meal
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Extra powdered sugar for rolling in
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepared almond "flour" or "meal" is available online from Bob's Red Mill and Whole Food Market or Trader Joe‘s. Combine the almond "flour" with the baking powder, powdered sugar, and flour. Beat the egg whites until stiff and mix into the almond mixture. Add the almond extract and blend until you have a soft paste. Place some powdered sugar on a clean, dry surface. Form one tablespoon of dough into a small ball, roll in the sugar, and then form either traditional diamond or round shapes, flattening the cookie with the palm of your hand. Place the cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.
Makes about 16 cookies.