Italian Almond and Cherry Rosette Cookies
(Makes 2-1/2 dozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces almond paste
2 egg whites
Maraschino or candied cherries, each one cut in half
Preheat the oven to 300-degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together both sugars, 1/2 cup flour, and salt. Set aside.
Using a fork, break up the almond paste into small pieces. Alternately, you can shred the almond paste in a food processor or on a box grater. Put the almond paste into a mixing bowl.
Add egg whites to the almond paste and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture. Add more flour if dough is very sticky.
Transfer the dough, in batches, to a pastry bag with a 1M or 4B open star pastry tip. If you don't have a pastry bag (and don't care if they look like rosettes) you can simply form them into balls and press each ball down lightly on the cookie sheet.
Pipe the dough into round swirls about 2-inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets. Place the rosettes about 2-inches apart. Press a candied half cherry into center of each. (If you are using maraschino cherries, pat them dry with a paper towel before placing on the cookie dough so the juices don't bleed onto the cookies.)
For the cookies to retain their shape better, place the cookies on the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and leave the cookies on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes.
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These are a traditional Italian cookie with a dough very similar to Pignoli Cookies without the nuts. They are slightly crisp on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside and filled with almond flavor. The amount of cookies that this recipe yields is approximate, depending on how large you pipe your cookie dough rosettes.