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Featured in our 2019 Christmas Guide
Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes about 48 cookies

These cookies from the almond-growing region of Siena date back to at least the 15th century. They’re melt-in-your-mouth tender, but with a nice chew. Their cracked, snowy-white tops make a beautiful addition to a cookie platter, and they’re a great option for those on a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients

  • 3-3/4 cups blanched almond meal flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar; more for dusting
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per cookie
  • Calories (kcal) : 80
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 40
  • Fat (g): 4
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 0
  • Carbohydrates (g): 8
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 2

Preparation

  • Line 4 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Pour the almond flour into a large bowl and use your fingers to break up any clumps. Add the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, and the orange zest, and whisk to combine.
  • In a small stainless-steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand-held mixer on high speed until they form soft peaks. With a spatula, gently fold the whites into the almond meal mixture. Add the honey and extracts, and mix well. The dough will be stiff and sticky.
  • Put the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Pinch off about 2 tsp. of dough, roll it into a ball, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is shaped into balls, placing 12 balls per sheet. Roll each ball in the confectioners’ sugar until well coated, then return to the baking sheet and gently pinch the ball into a diamond shape. Let the cookies sit, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours to firm up and dry out a little.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until their tops have started to crack and they are barely tinged with gold around the edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let cool completely.
  • Dust with more confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Reviews

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Reviews (21 reviews)

  • butterscotch | 11/24/2019

    These are good traditional Italian cookies, and, with a little tweaking, the recipe could be great. I found them a trifle too sweet and next time will make with a few tablespoons less granulated sugar. I also found it impossible to "pinch" the cookies into a diamond shape as the recipe directs. Instead, I used a salad fork to flatten the dough balls into discs. This produced small button-shaped discs that were about 1 and 3/4 inches in diameter--much smaller than the diamond-shaped cookies pictured above. I had to bake mine for about 16-17 minutes at 325 degrees to get them completely done. Since I did not have blanched almond meal on hand, I used regular almond meal which worked fine, although I admit that blanched almond meal would have made a prettier and more traditional-looking cookie.
    This is a tough recipe to reduce by half due to the odd number of egg whites, but it is easy to reduce by thirds. I cut the amount of ingredients called for by one third and ended up with only 24 cookies--not the 36 predicted by the recipe.

  • User avater
    AlissaKRay | 05/23/2019

    Thanks for sharing this sweet recipe. Liked it!

  • User avater
    AlissaKRay | 05/23/2019

    Thanks for sharing this sweet dish!

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