Soft amaretti biscuits (imagine chewy marzipan meringues)

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A different take on soft amaretti biscuits which are traditionally round

There’s a lot to enjoy about this Italian amaretti biscuit recipe. It is uncomplicated and quick to make and requires only four ingredients (ground almonds, amaretto, egg whites and castor sugar). Then there is the taste and texture of the soft, warm biscuit: rich in almonds and amaretto, there’s a distinct marzipan taste in the chewy soft centre beneath the crispy meringue-like outside. Perfect for teas.

PREPARATION

You’ll need a lightly greased baking tray that’s lined with greaseproof paper and a perfectly clean dry bowl. You’ll also need a scale, measuring spoons, a whisk, a spoon and a sieve (for dusting icing sugar before serving).

Preheat your oven to 180 degree celsius.

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For freshness: grind the almonds in a coffee grinder

AMARETTI BISCUIT INGREDIENTS

4 medium egg whites (with no sign of yellow yolk)
350 grams castor sugar
350 grams ground almonds (you can grind almonds up in a coffee grinder)
30ml of amaretto liqueur (this bittersweet almond flavored Italian liqueur goes by different brand names. Ask for Disaronno or something similar if your liquor store says they don’t have amaretto)

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Quick ingredients check list

Whisk the eggs in the clean bowl until they are firm with stiff peaks. Gently stir in and combine the almonds and sugar. Once mixed, add the amaretto and gently fold it in so that you end up with a smooth paste.

Place small dollops of the amaretto biscuit mixture onto baking paper. Use a teaspoon or a spoon and space them out so that the biscuits are at least 3cm apart (give them enough space to expand in the oven).

Bake for about 15 minutes in the centre of the oven or until they are golden brown.

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Chewy underside

ALTERNATIVE (what I did to get the rectangular biscuits in the pics)

This alternative version is essentially a successful ‘flop’. I added a little too much amaretto to spice up the biscuits but the mixture was too runny.

The quickest solution was to pour the ‘batter’ into a prepared tart tin. My friends who tasted the cool biscuits later wanted the ‘flop’ version of the recipe so here it goes:

Halve the ingredients but add an extra glug of amaretto so that the mixture takes on the form of a batter. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top. Bake as one batch (as opposed to individual biscuits). I used a medium sized tart tin. Once the mixture is baked and golden brown you can remove from the tin and slice. Pop the slices back into the oven upside down to crisp the underside slightly.

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Alternative: bake in a tart tin, slice and rebake to crisp the underside

SERVE

Dust the amaretti biscuits with some icing sugar if you wish and serve them soft and warm. If you leave them to cool they’ll have a little more crunch (let them cool on a wire rack until firm).

Store them in an airtight container if you’d like to keep them for a few days.

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