Almond Biscuits

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys making things that use a lot of egg yolks (custard! ice-cream! mayonnaise!) then you’ll know the problem you can face with a bowl of egg whites. I faced just this predicament after making some raspberry tarts with a vanilla custard filling. I always think it’s incredibly wasteful to throw them away, so it’s useful to have a few recipes up your sleeve that you can whip us with things you have in the cupboard, and these tasty little almond biscuits tick that box.

almondcookies

These biscuits are essentially like simple Italian amaretti, round little domes with a nice crisp/chewy shell on the outside, with a little crunch and sparkle from caster sugar, but a soft marzipan-like filling. The name actually translates as “small bitter things” but I assume that refers more to the almond flavour than their temperament. They would be similar to what Italians call amaretti morbidi, a name that I always find rather sinister. I know it means soft amaretti, but I always translate morbido in my head as morbid (a false friend). I mean…a morbid biscuit…really? I think the results are about as far from that as possible – a lovely light golden colour and those jaunty, random cracks on the surface. They might not look perfect, but I think that adds to their charm.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to almonds with a pronounced flavour, they use those, but to make sure you get a proper almond flavour, it’s fair to cheat a little and add a dash of almond extract. I know some people get a little sniffy about this, but I think it really makes a difference, and takes them from just being sweet and chewy to proper little almond bites.

You’ll see that this recipe uses a little flour – I find this helps to bind the mixture, but I’ve made them using both normal plain flour as well as a gluten-free flour mixture. Both were equally successful, so these treats can easily be made gluten-free. It’s also the use of flour that means I haven’t called these amaretti. Don’t want to offend Italian grannies and all that.

How to enjoy them? They can be kept for a few days, but I think they are perfect with coffee, and you’ll probably struggle to stop at one.

To make almond biscuits (makes 24):

• 2 large egg whites
• 230g ground almonds
• 230g caster sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• 3 tablespoons plain flour
• extra caster sugar to sprinkle

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and rub lightly with oil.

2. In a bowl, whip the egg whites until you have soft peaks. Add 200g of each of the almonds and sugar, plus the almond extract and the flour. Mix well. Add the rest of the sugar and almonds only if needed – the mixture should be firm and not be wet, but still soft enough to shape using teaspoons.

3. Take teaspoons of the mixture and form into rough balls. Using damp hands, roll into smooth spheres (you’ll probably have to rinse your hands after four cookies), place on the baking tray a few centimetres apart, and flatten slightly. Sprinkle with caster sugar.

4. Bake the biscuits for around 15 minutes until lightly golden (they will be paler in the centre). Turn the tray around half-way during baking to get an even colour.

Worth making? Definitely. The mixture is quick and easy to make, so easy to whip up when you’ve got a spare half an hour. And delicious too!

20 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

20 responses to “Almond Biscuits

  1. Next time you should try macaroons😀 My success rate with them is not so good and I’m a chef! I like the similar variation you got going on here though

    • Tell me about it – I love the process of making French macarons, but it’s the sort of thing that involves lots of work, lots of time and – in my case – lots of mess (‘cos I’m just a home cook, and a chaotic one at that!). However, I’ve recently invested in some gel food colours, so I might have a bash at some seasonal autumnal flavours – maybe blackberry or spiced pumpkin?

  2. Aw i LOVE recipes that use up egg whites and also ones that have almonds in them!

  3. Yes, I always have leftover egg whites. Bookmarked this – in fact may make them today. They look light enough to sneak past the teens healthy eating diets!

    • Ha, what a crafty idea! I guess you can position this as low in fat – it’s just healthy nuts, but not oil or butter. We’ll just side-step the issue of the sugar…I’ve also made these with ground hazelnuts for a different flavour, which also worked very well.

  4. OMG! This looks so amazing! I simply adore your bakes! =)

  5. Prateeksha

    So easy…..I am planning to make them today itself !! Will get back to you with the results !!

  6. Wow you are gonna make me fat with all these fantastic sweet-treat recipes. Greeting from Port Alfred. Stunner of a day here. You’d love it.
    Jane

    • Hi Jane!!!! These won’t make you fat, if you can stop at just one😉 Jealous of sunshine and warm weather though, it’s freezing here now. The cats have decided to say in for the winter!

  7. Do you know that here in Italy, especially here in southern, is Christmas tradition, cooking almond biscuits. I have my recipe but it’s not that perfect. I “steal” your recipe, I have writing on my recipes book, and in December, I try to cook it. I’ll let you know if it’s perfect! I’m sure Yes! Your recipes are perfect, always!🙂 see you soon!

  8. This looks like a perfect recipe for me to try. Love this idea. Once it gets cold I am envisioning these with some excellent espresso and a sidecar of amaretto.

  9. kamla masalawalla

    love your website ,love the recipes even better.
    will try the rava keshari recipe
    looks yummy!!!

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