Ricciarelli di Siena
(Tuscan Almond Cookies)
Ricciarelli are almond meringue cookies from Tuscany that are delicately flavored with orange.
They are traditionally eaten at Christmastime but are also enjoyed year-round. Their texture is
very similar to a soft amaretti cookie. Ricciarelli are a flourless, gluten-free cookie and they are
also fat-free. It is customary to bake ricciarelli on a small piece of edible rice paper that forms
the base and is eaten with the cookie; but the cookies can be made without it as in this recipe.
Ricciarelli are very easy to make and they keep well in an airtight container for a few weeks.
Makes about eighteen 3-inch cookies
1-1/4 cups sliced or slivered almonds
2 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 medium orange
Confectioners’ sugar *
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind the almonds in a food processor until reduced to a semi-fine powder.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed, adding the sugar a little at a time. Once all of the sugar was been incorporated, add the vanilla. Continue beating the whites until very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the beaten whites will stay inside.
With a rubber spatula, fold in the ground almonds and orange zest. Use 2 spoons to scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. The cookies should be lozenge-shaped, about 2-1/2 inches long x 1 inch wide. Only put about 9 cookies on each baking sheet as they will spread a little. Dust the tops of the cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch, but pale in color, not brown.
Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. When completely cool, re-dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar.
*Some confectioners’ sugar incorporate a small amount of cornstarch to
prevent clumping. If you are concerned about gluten, check to be sure that the confectioners’ sugar you buy does not contain wheat starch; some brands have recently been substituting it for the cornstarch.
Ricciarelli - Tuscan Almond Cookies
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