italian almond cookies

Joined May 28, 2002
Can anyone provide me with a recipe for the type of Itaian Almond Cookies made by the Grace Baking Company out of Oakland CA? They are soft in the center and crispy on the outside, rolled in powdered sugar before baking..
these are the best cookies ever and I am desperate to make them!

Joined Mar 13, 2001
Here's a recipe:

Bitter Almond Cookies


These well-known Italian cookies are produced commercially in Saronno, in Lombardy, but this is the recipe from Sasello, in the province of Savona, whose amaretti are homemade and more memorable. In Liguria, amaretti are typically served with tea, with fruit, with wine, and as a stuffing for peaches. You must understand that these are not bitter cookies with almonds, but rather cookies made with sweet almonds (the type you are used to) and bitter almonds (which you can find in pastry shops, good fruit-and-nut sellers, and some health food stores).

Makes 24 cookies
2 teaspoons sweet butter
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
2/3 cup peeled, blanched bitter almonds (available in health food stores and specialty shops)
3/4 cup peeled, blanched sweet almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

Grease a cookie sheet with the butter and then top with the flour. Tap the tray to dislodge any excess flour. Place the bitter almonds, the sweet almonds, and the granulated sugar in a mortar and pound until you have created a powder (this procedure may also be done in a blender or a food processor, but the traditional method, of course, is in the mortar). Whisk the egg whites in a cold glass or metal bowl until you see peaks. Use a wooden spoon to add the whipped egg whites into the mortar. Then stir for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth.

Now make the cookies. To do it as a family cook would, take a heaping teaspoon of the mixture and plop it onto your greased cookie sheet. Each little mound of batter should be about 1 inch in diameter, and should be spaced 1 inch apart.

The more elegant way to do this is to put the mixture into a pastry bag with a plain tip. Squeeze out enough batter to form mounds 1 inch in diameter. No matter how you make the mounds, when you are done, set the tray aside in a cool, draft-free spot for 3 hours. The mounds will expand as they sit.

Baking: 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°. Dust the confectioner's sugar over all the mounds and then bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until they are crunchy and light gold in color. Let cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature. They may be stored in an airtight plastic container for about ten days, although I doubt such good cookies will be allowed to last that long.

Joined May 28, 2002

thanks..i'm not sure this is it, but i'll give it a try..seems pretty close, as the cookie i'm looking for is apparently made with almond paste (equivalent of the crushed almonds perhaps?) i'll let you know how they turned out..
Joined May 28, 2002
Kimmie, help!

I made this recipe twice and ended up with soup! What am I doing wrong? The sugar appears to be breaking down the egg whites, and there isn't anything else to bind them with and it all ends up quite runny!

thank you
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Oh dear, sorry about that, Pattycake :(

Did you grind the almond to a fine powder with the sugar in a food processor. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks forms. Fold this mixture into the ground almonds?

If your mixture is that soupy, I suspect you have too many egg whites. I would reduce the egg whites by half.

BTW, what size were your eggs?
Joined May 28, 2002

My eggs were large...could it be an altitude issue? I'm at nearly 6 thousand feet above sea level.. or maybe I needed to keep whipping them after they broke down..would they come back?

darn it!

thank you!
Joined Dec 30, 1999

Your altitude is definitely high altitude baking. See below for more info...

You may want to try your hand at any of the following Italian almond cookie recipes (for conversions, look here):

Biscottini alla Mandorla
Serving Size: 24

1 cup butter at room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 whole egg, for batter
1 whole egg, beaten, for a wash
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Frangelica liquor
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour (I used unbleached all purpose)
24 whole blanched almonds, toasted

Cream butter with sugar; add the egg, almond extract, vanilla, the liquor and blend well. Sift the flour with the baking powder and soda and add in one-cup amounts and beat after each addition and finally beat to a velvety dough. Place a large walnut size piece on a non-stick cookie sheet and flatten with palm of your hand. Paint each with the beaten egg. Press a toasted almond into the center of each and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes then turn the ovens up to 350 and at the same time set the timer for 7 minutes. When timer goes off remove and place on cooling rack. Cool completely and place in storage container.


900 g sugar
1.2 k peeled blanched almonds
60 g candied sweet (as opposed to bitter) orange peel
20 g bitter almonds (substitute peach pit nutmeats or omit if you cannot find)
100 g flour

150 g sugar
1/2 cup water

60 g powdered sugar
60 g flour

60 g powdered sugar laced with vanilla
2 egg whites

Begin by grinding the almonds and the other ingredients of A so as to obtain a smooth uniform paste; this is easier if you have access to a professional quality grinder.

Dissolve the sugar of B in the water and heat over a brisk flame to obtain a thick syrup. When a drop of the syrup pressed between the fingers which are then separated forms threads mix it into the almond cream, together with the powdered sugar and flour of C.

Let this dough rest covered with a damp cloth for 8 hours. Whip the whites to soft peaks with the vanilla laced sugar (D) and incorporate this mixture into the dough.

Dust your work surface with a mixture of powdered sugar and rice starch (or corn starch) and roll the dough out so it's about a half inch thick. Cut the dough into diamond-shaped cookies an inch across and two long (the Sienese cut the loaf into strips, roll them into snakes and press pieces of the snakes into appropriately shaped molds).

Once the ricciarelli are cut out they should be places on thin wafers on a baking sheet, dusted with powdered sugar, and baked for about 15 minutes (or somewhat less) in a 320 (160 C) oven. You don't want them to brown.

You may add a teaspoon of baking powder to the dough to make it rise slightly when you fold in the sugar and white mix just before rolling out the dough.

Amaretti Teneri (Tender Amaretti)

*4 ounces (100 g) almonds
*4 ounces (100 g) bitter almonds (use all sweet if you cannot find bitter, adding a few peach pit nutmeats if you have them)
*4 ounces (100 g) hazelnuts
*2/3 cup (60 g) extremely fine corn meal
*An ounce (25 g) powdered yeast (use baking powder)
*2 1/4 cups (500 g) sugar
*8 egg whites
*Powdered sugar
*Oil for greasing the cookie sheet

Peel the almonds, if need be, and shell the hazelnuts. Grind the nuts (if you use a blender, give short bursts, and stop before the nuts liquefy or give off their oil) to a fine powder with the sugar, then add the corn meal and the yeast and mix well.

Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

While it is heating take a large bowl and whip the whites to soft peaks. Work in the almond mixture. Grease your cookie sheet, and set down mounds of dough the size of large walnuts, leaving space between them because they will grow as they bake. Dust them with the powdered sugar, set them in the oven until they turn light gold (you don't want them to overbrown). Remove them from the oven and serve them when they have cooled.

Pasticcini di Mandorle e CaffŽ
(Coffee-Flavored Almond Cookie Squares)

500 grams (1 pound 2 ounces) Almonds
500 grams (1 pound 2 ounces; this is slightly more than 2 cups) Sugar
5 egg whites beaten until stiff
5 teaspoons of ground espresso coffee
Powdered sugar (the kind that doesn't include starch)

Peel and crush the almonds. Mix sugar with 3 tablespoons of water, crushed almonds, ground coffee, and egg whites.

Grease a rectangular pan and cover with fine bread crumbs. Pour mixture into pan and bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut in small square pieces, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

High Altitude Baking
Altitude does not begin to affect baking until above 2,500 feet. Higher than that, the altitude will dry out ingredients, make doughs and batters rise faster, and make liquids boil faster. Generally speaking, pans should be greased more heavily, oven temperatures increased slightly, leaveners and sugar reduced and liquid increased. The actual adjustments needed will depend on the altitude. Do not assume that your sea level recipe will fail.Ê Try it first.Ê It may need little or no modification. Cakes and breads are most affected by altitude.

There are some standard adjustments you can make, but you also have to experiment a bit to find what adjustments work best for your recipes where you are.

With less air pressure weighing them down, leavening agents tend to work too quickly at higher altitudes, so by the time the food is cooked, most of the gasses have escaped, producing a flat tire. For cakes leavened by egg whites, beat only to a soft-peak consistency (don't overbeat) to keep them from deflating as they bake. Also, decrease the amount of baking powder or soda in your recipes by 15% to 25% (one-eighth to one quarter teaspoon per teaspoon specified in the recipe) at 5,000 feet, and by 25% or more at 7,000. (reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon called for; do not change the amount of baking soda). For both cakes and cookies, raise the oven temperature by 25¡ or so to set the batter before the cells formed by the leavening gas expand too much, causing the cake or cookies to fall, and slightly shorten the cooking time.

Flour tends to be drier at high elevation, so increase the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 to 3 tablespoons for each cup called for at 5,000 feet, and by 3 to 4 tablespoons at 7,000 ft. Often you will want to decrease the amount of sugar in a recipe by 1 to 3 tablespoons for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe.

On the non-baking front, because water boils at a lower temperature the higher you go (203¡ at 5,000 feet, 198¡ at 7,500 feet), foods cooked in water have to be cooked substantially longer to get them done. Pasta needs a furious boil and longer time. Beans need to be cooked twice as long at 7,000 feet, and above that height, it's nearly impossible to cook them through without the use of a pressure cooker (which raises the boiling point of water). Slow stews and braises may need an hour extra for every 1,000 feet you live above 4,000 feet.

Cakes & Breads at High Altitudes

Increase oven temperature for cakes and breads 25 degrees at altitude above 3,500 ft.

Use high altitude instructions on cake mixes as given on box.

Shorten rising time for yeast doughs, letting your eye or the finger poking method be your guide.

Increase flour in cake by one tablespoon if 5,000 feet to 7,000 ft. and by two tablespoon about 7,000 ft. (not per cup of flour called for but just one tablespoon for recipe.)

Reduce baking powder and/or soda by the following for each tablespoon called for in a recipe.

*1/8 teaspoon - 3500 to 4500
*1/4 teaspoon - 4500 to 5000
*1/3 teaspoon - 5000 to 7000

Decrease sugar by one tablespoon for each cup called for if 4,000 to 6,000 ft.

Angel food cakes and other products that use air as leavening need little adjustment in ingredients. Avoid over-beating egg whites.

Increase liquid by two tablespoons for each cup liquid in recipe, if 4,000 to 6,000 ft.

Reduce rising time for yeast breads.

If quick breads seem dry, increase liquid slightly.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
I was wondering why my recipe didn't work for you, Pattycake. Just couldn't figure it out!

Thanks for solving the problem Cchiu and for these wonderful recipes. :)
Joined Jan 11, 2002
I can't give you more advice (but there is definitely no need to do it! :) ) since I have no personal experience of making almond cookies apart from the "Quareximali" I have described in an old Easter post, which surely aren't those you are talking about. Anyway, judging by your description the cookies which recipe you're looking for aren't the Amaretti- at least not the dry type. It sounds like they're Ricciarelli...or, maybe, soft Amaretti (like the "Amaretti di Sassello"). The "Ricciarelli" have an oblong, rhomboidal shape, while the Amaretti are round.
Which is the shape of "your" cookies?

Joined May 28, 2002
The cookies I obtained from the bakery, were rounded, like drop cookies, with a "crackle" type top, as if they had been rolled in pwdered sugar before baking..

Thank you so much for the info and the FABULOUS recipes, I will give them a try as soon as possible..

Joined May 26, 2001
May I offer just one more recipe? This one might not have a bad altitude :rolleyes: (sorry). It's about as simple as can be.

Almond Macaroons

1 roll Almond paste (7 to 8 oz)
1 cup Granulated sugar
3 Egg whites, unbeaten

Mix the almond paste with a little of the egg white to soften it, then thoroughly blend together all the ingredients until there are no lumps. If the mixture is too stiff for a pastry bag, add a little more egg white.

Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a plain tip. Pipe onto parchment in mounds the size of a quarter, an inch or 2 apart.

Sea-level: bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool before removing from paper. To make it easier to remove the macaroons from the paper, turn the sheets over and brush the bottoms of the sheets very lightly with water.
Joined Jan 11, 2002
from your description they could be Tender Amaretti, so I suggest you to try the recipe cchiu posted. If you still have problems, I can find more info for you as they're typical of my region (Sassello is very close to Genova)

Joined Nov 22, 2010
I have also been looking for this recipe.  Just broke down and bought some cookies yesterday, but no longer live in the Bay Area so really would like the recipe.  Have you found one?
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Hmmmm..... the original thread had its last post in June of 2002; a reply from those who posted over eight years ago is doubtful. However, current members may be able to add something to the discussion.

Good luck,


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