Italian Amaretti

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A couple months ago I made, what I thought were, the easiest gluten free cookie in the book- peanut butter cookies. I think I have found a recipe that is actually EVEN easier. The Italian Amaretti cookie has just 3 ingredients: almond paste, sugar, and egg whites. You pulse all the ingredients in a food processor then pipe it out onto parchment paper lined sheet trays. Bake for 15-18 minutes and you have a delightful almond cookie that is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. These cookies are great on their own, but sandwiching 2 together with some ganache made for a wonderful sweet. It is a lot like a French macaron, but with fewer steps. Another blogger recommend putting a jam or preserve in the middle- that sounds like a great idea too.

ITALIAN AMARETTI

1 (7-ounce) tube pure almond paste (not marzipan; 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 large egg whites at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

1. Preheat oven to 300°F and place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

2. Pulse almond paste, sugar and salt in a food processor until broken up, then add egg whites and puree until smooth. Transfer batter to pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip and pipe 3/4-inch rounds (1/3 inch high) about 1-inch apart in pans. Dip a fingertip in water and gently tamp down any peaks.

3. Bake, rotating and switching position of pans halfway through, until golden and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes.

4. Let cookies cool almost completely in their pans. Once cool, they’re much easier to cleanly remove from the parchment. You can make them into sandwich cookies but spreading some ganache (3 ounces of semi-sweet chips melted with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream, then left to thicken a bit would be enough to sandwich the whole batch).

{Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two or frozen up to one month.}

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I accidentally over baked one of the trays, so half came out a little crisper than I would have liked (they were perfect for dipping in coffee).

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