Carols are sung, wine is mulled and - if we are really honest - time spent either overwhelmed with work or at the ever-growing to-do list seems endless! But baking always seems to ground us...there's just something about the clouds of icing sugar, particularly in winter!
When time is tight and there are guests to impress, you can't go wrong with Amaretti. The perfect pairing to a strong espresso, these innocuous looking biscuits are bursting with complex texture and flavour - but incredibly simple to make yourself. Find out how below:
Makes around 30
- 460g Blanched Almonds
- 40g Bitter Almonds or 1 tsp Almond Extract
- 400g Caster Sugar
- 140g Egg White
- 2 Tbsp Icing Sugar
1. Grind both types of almonds with the sugar in a blender until you have a fine powder
2.Stir the egg whites with a fork to mix them a little - if using the almond essence, add it with the egg white.
3. Tip the ground almonds into a bowl and add the egg whites little by little, bringing the dough together to form a sticky mass. The dough needs to be able to hold its shape but be sufficiently dry so that it doesn't stick to your fingertips. It shouldn't be so dry that it feels sandy!
4. Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius (340F / Gas 3) and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
5. Wetting your hands slightly, take golf-ball or large walnut sized balls of dough and roll them into even sized sausage shapes. Placing them lengthways on your palm, press an index finger in the centre to create a domed top and then lay them (indent-side down) on the lined baking sheet.
6. Once you have shaped all the dough, brush the tops of the amaretti with any remaining egg whites and sprinkle with icing sugar (and blanched almonds if you have extra)!
7. Bake in the oven until deliciously golden and brown - around 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack or eat while warm and extra chewy.
Amaretti are supposed to be chewy in texture, so keep an eye on them while baking - and test! Whilst we polish ours off within hours of leaving the oven, Amaretti freeze well and can be frozen in a tightly-lidded container for up to 2 weeks!
They also make the perfect gift too!