Cooking with Manuela: Italian Almond Cookies

 These classic Italian cookies are very easy to make, and extremely easy to eat 🙂 
Intensely nutty and perfectly sweet
Chewy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.

What more could you want in a cookie?  

I’m so excited today to share with you the recipe of my favorite Italian pasticcini. Pasticcini are small, cookie-size fine pastries that you’d buy in an Italian pasticceria or bakery, generally served as a dessert, but also amazing next to steaming-hot cup of coffee or tea. At any time of the day, really!

Almond pasticcini are a traditional Sicilian pastry, but common in every part of Italy.  There are a few variations of these cookies. You can make them with just almonds, or add a little aroma, like pistachios, amaretti, orange extract … Because my trees in the backyard are exploding with juicy lemons, in today’s recipe I added some lemon zest, just like they do in Puglia. If you try these, I’m sure you’ll fall in love too with the flavor combination of almonds and lemons. Truly a match made in heaven!

I recommend using almond flour for these cookies, which is made from ground blanched almonds. You could also use flour meal (generally made with whole almonds) but the result would be a little more crumbly and not as soft. 
You can decorate them on top with a whole almond, just like I did, or a candied cherry. Delicious either way.
And as a final optional-but-highly-recommended touch, roll the almond dough in powdered sugar. It gives a crispy outer shell when baking, and the fun and unique look of these cookies. 

Ready to try this recipe?! If you do, I’m sure  they’ll be your new favorite pasticcini too!



INGREDIENTS:

YIELD: about 22 cookies

    • 3 cups (300 gr) almond flour 
    • 1 cup (200 gr)  sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • zest of 1 large lemon (or 2 small)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • 3 egg whites (medium eggs)
    • powder sugar for dusting, about 1/4 cup (optional)
    • about 22 whole almonds (one for each cookie)

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