This recipe came to me via a good friend (and accomplished baker herself) in Minneapolis.  It’s an award winning recipe from a contest run through their local newspaper.  It’s Italian Almond Cookies.  Plenty of variations out there, but again, I only send you the ones I try and that my taste testers like.  They (my wife, the queen tester of cookies in my house) liked this one.  It’s not a slam dunk just because I made it (in spite of the sweet tooth that runs in her side of the family) .  I can usually tell with the first bite – that oh my goodness moment that lasts a few seconds before she snaps out of her sugar high.  Sometimes it’s just a ‘nice’, and other times it’s ‘you’ve hit a homerun with this one’!

It’s  a variation of a cookie called Ricciarelli (or as the winner puts it – pronounced REACH-a-RELL-ee).  Easy to make, just a few ingredients and bakes just as it is suggested in the recipe.  No fiddling around.  I like the oval egg shape of the cookie, but I like the taste even more. It’s like frangipane with a cookie texture.  It does things in your mouth which are positively illegal – that’s if you are allowed to eat nuts (apologies to my nephews). You get about 2 dozen cookies with this recipe.  You could make more if you gently rolled it in little balls and baked them.  These taste so good, it’s the kind of cookie you take a bite of and say to the person beside you – “oh these are awful, try those colorful ones over there” (then stuff a whole bunch in your pocket).  So try these.  As always – enjoy!

1 egg white
2 1/4 c. almond flour
3/4 c. granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for coating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper
Using your electric mixer on medium-high speed (if you don’t have one of these, please put it on your list of gifts for Christmas. I’ve had my Kitchen Aid mixer for almost 25 years), beat egg white until soft peaks form – add in the honey, almond and vanilla extract – and beat only until mixed
In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, granulated sugar and lemon zest
Add the egg white mixture and knead – I used the paddle until it just started to come together to form a dough – it wasn’t sticky but nice to work with
Knead the dough into a ball, then roll this into a 1″ thick log – I suppose you could skip the log step completely and shape little dough balls into the egg shape as well, but remember to always try the recipe once as the author intended
Cut 1/2″ slices from the log (this dough doesn’t need refrigeration) then form the cut pieces into an egg shape
Roll the egg shaped dough in the powdered sugar, coating all sides – tap off excess
Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until slightly browned with a cracked exterior, about 15 to 20 minutes – mine were ready in 13 minutes – dust with more icing sugar while still warm
Let cool slightly before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely

Italian Almond Cookies 5
Italian Almond Cookies 3