The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Soft amaretti - no more secrets

There is nothing more rewarding than hitting upon the right proportion of ingredients for one of your favourite things. Soft and sour amaretti are those sweets that you would eat one after the other, and as it takes only one bite to devour these little jewels it gets pretty difficult to keep a full jar for more than two days...our it's almost half empty and I do have restrained myself!

Amaretti are traditionally from Saronno, in Lombardy, and as the word says are amari - bitter -
like most names of food in the Italian language which really describe what the food is. In this case what gives that bitterness is almonds which are the main ingredient.
I quite like the romantic legend behind them. Legend wants that in the early 18th century a Milanese bishop visited Saronno out of the blue, without having been announced. A young couple welcomed him by offering the best they could which was in that moment biscuits made with crushed apricot kernels, sugar and egg whites. The bishop was so pleased that he gave them a long lasting blessing for their marriage and advised them to preserve the recipe as a family secret.

The recipe is no secret but indeed very easy - what is tricky though is the right ratio. Here it is:

For 20 amaretti

150g ground almonds
2 egg whites - medium eggs
100g caster sugar
zest of half a lemon
a quarter of vanilla bean

Grate the lemon and scrape the vanilla bean out. Mix well with the ground almonds and sugar.

Beat the egg whites until they have a meringue look and then fold it in the almond mixture. You will have a soft mixture which you can mould into walnut size balls. Roll them in icing sugar and place them on a baking paper.

Cook in the oven at 170C for 12 minutes.


They are such a treat!


  1. Yummy - they look great! And I bet they beat those solid dry ones that you get in the nice packages! In fact, the only reason to buy those other ones is their beautiful boxes.
    Are they a bit like those ones from Sienna? (Or is that a bit like asking: is Sassicaia a bit like Chianti?!!)

  2. Hello, thank you for your comments. I guess they do taste a bit like Ricciarelli - the little diamond shape cakes from Siena - because of the common use of almond and egg whites. However, they taste slightly different possibly because of the addition of bitter almonds in Ricciarelli and the different cooking temperature. Mind the space, I'll blog on Ricciarelli later on closer to Christmas! :D

  3. Thank you for the recipe, it is lovely! They come very soft and fragrant. Love them!

  4. Glad you like them! Hope you'll resist the temptation to finish them all at once...;D