Italian Almond Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2

    cups/290 grams blanched almonds

  • cup/130 grams granulated sugar

  • 2

    egg whites

  • ½

    teaspoon almond extract

  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

  • Amarena cherries or whole unblanched almonds, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

  1. Put half the almonds and half the sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process to obtain a coarse meal. Repeat with remaining almonds and sugar.
  2. Put egg whites and almond extract in a medium bowl. Using a wire whisk, beat whites until frothy but not stiff. Add the almond-sugar mixture to the whites and use a rubber spatula to incorporate the egg whites until you obtain a doughlike consistency.
  3. Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to make 24 little blobs weighing about 1/2 ounce/20 grams. Roll each between 2 palms to make smooth spheres, then flatten them slightly. Roll them in a bowl of confectioners’ sugar to coat well and place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make little round dents in each cookie. Fill dents with whole, unblanched almonds or Amarena cherries, if desired. Alternatively, leave cookies plain with smooth tops. Leave the tray of unbaked cookies at room temperature, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.