Ricciarelli: Chewy Italian Almond Cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Drying time: 1 hour
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 20 cookies
Ricciarelli are dense, chewy Italian almond cookies originating in Siena. They are a distant, and much less fussy, Italian cousin to the French macaron — perfect with tea or coffee!
- 2 egg whites
- 1 dash lemon juice
- 2 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp orange zest about half a large orange
- 1 tbsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar for coating cookies
Whip egg whites and lemon juice together with a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift in almond flour, 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, salt, and baking powder and fold into egg whites. I don't do it all at once but maybe in 2-3 batches. Try to keep some air in the egg whites, but at this point it will form a pretty sticky dough rather than a fluffy meringue.
Add orange zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract and fold in until combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using clean hands, roll dough into balls about 1" in diameter, then roll in powdered sugar until well coated. Shape into an oval, then arrange on baking sheet with some space between them for spreading, and flatten slightly.
Leave at room temperature for about an hour or until the tops have dried out and formed almost a little shell. (This may take longer in humid areas.) Pre-crack the shell by squeezing the cookies slightly from opposite corners. (Not doing this won't affect the taste, but pre-cracking them makes them much prettier if you want that beautiful white-gold contrast!)
While cookies are drying, preheat oven to 300 degrees. When the cookies are ready, bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container. These are even better the next day and are great with coffee or tea!