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Chef's Corner: Italian Almond Cookies

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time of year to get out your hand and stand mixers and start mixin’ stuff up! I’m sure you have heard me say this before, but Michael and I LOVE Fall in our house. It’s the time of year that cooking for family and friends feels different than any other time. I found this amazing recipe by David Lebovitz for Italian Almond Cookies. This recipe will transport your tastebuds to a trip through Sicilian Bakeries. The recipe is butter and flour free and will not disappoint you or your guests.


Italian Almond Cookies Recipe: David Lebovitz

Makes 25 to 30 cookies

For the cookie dough

  • 3 cups (290g) blanched almond powder (see Notes)

  • 1 cup (200g) sugar

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • pinch of salt

  • 3 tablespoons smooth apricot jam

  • a few drops of pure almond extract

For finishing the cookies

  • 1 large egg white

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups (120-160g) sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched

1. In a large bowl, mix together the almond powder and sugar. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they start to mound and form soft, peaks. They should not be stiff, but the consistency of softly whipped cream.

2. Fold the beaten whites into the almond mixture (they’ll lose volume, which is fine), then fold in the apricot jam and a drop or two of almond extract. Mix the dough until it comes together in the smooth ball. You may need to get into it with your clean hands to help knead it together.

3. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

4. Pinch of pieces of dough about 1 1/4-inch (4cm) in diameter and roll each into a ball, then roll them in your hands to make them into ovals, setting them on a dinner plate as you go. (You can also bake them in rounds, if you wish.)

5. In a small bowl, stir the egg white with a fork briskly for about ten seconds to break it up. Put the sliced almonds on a plate. Working with 3 or 4 at a time, roll each piece of rolled cookie dough in the egg white and place it in the dish containing the sliced almonds.

6. Roll and press the ovals of dough into the almonds, being extremely generous coating when coating with the almonds. I start with 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds in the bowl, and add more as necessary. After coating each batch of cookies with the almonds, put them on a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. (You may need to press the almonds well into the cookies to get a lot of them to stick, and the cookies may lose their perfect oval shape – which is fine, the cookies should be a bit rustic.)

7. Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets in the oven, turning them around so the cookies bake evenly, until the cookies and nuts are light golden brown. Let cool before serving.

Storage: Once cool, the cookies can be stored in a container at room temperature for up to one week. I would not recommend freezing them as it will change their toothsome texture.

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