Amaretti, First Cousins of Macarons

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CRISP AMARETTI

These are the ones like Amaretti di Saronno that come in the red tin.  Unlike the originals that are made from a paste of Chinese apricot kernels, these are made with almond paste.

Makes about 40 to 60 small amaretti

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8 ounces canned almond paste

6 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar

1 ounce (1/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar

3 large egg whites

Pearl sugar for finishing

  1. Break almond paste into 1/2-inch pieces. Combine with sugar and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle. Mix on slowest speed to crumb together almond paste and sugar. Pour in egg whites in 3 or 4 additions, beating between each addition. Scrape down the bowl frequently during the addition of the egg whites. Don't over mix after the paste is smooth or it will absorb too much air and flatten out in the oven.
  2. If possible, pack the paste into a covered plastic container and allow it to age overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
  3. Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  4. Using a plain tube with a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch opening, pipe 3/4- to 1-inch macaroons on paper-lined pans, leaving 1 inch between each macaroon.
  5. Sprinkle amaretti with granulated or pearl sugar:  generously cover the top row  on the pan with the sugar and, grasping the top corners of the paper and slightly slanting the pan, shake the sugar onto the remaining amaretti, shaking the remaining sugar onto a clean work surface. P1020359 P1020360
  6. Bake immediately until well puffed and golden all the way through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the pans and store in a tightly-closed tin or plastic container.

CHEWY AMARETTI TOPPED WITH PINE NUTS P1020367

  1. In step 1 above, use only 2 egg whites and continue up to the end of step 4.
  2. After piping, slap tops with wet towel to moisten and even them out as in the photos. P1020352 P1020353
  3. Sprinkle each of the piped amaretti with a large pinch of pine nuts.  P1020358
  4. Bake as above until golden and still moist inside.
  5. After the amaretti cool, turn paper over and paint with hot water to loosen them; turn the paper back to the pan and let them stand for a few minutes, then remove them from the paper.
  6. If you’re not using the amaretti right away, pack them between sheets of wax paper in a container with a tight-fitting cover and freeze.  Unpack and defrost in a single layer.