You can tell that Spring is just around the corner when the almond trees start blossoming. All of a sudden from nothing and out of nowhere they are everywhere. Beautiful candy floss trees with their barely pink flowers brighten the landscape with hints of pink fairy dust….
Closer up the blossoms are white with fuchsia pink centres and the nut grows underneath it…
With all this inspiration I had to make something with almonds. Something delicate, beautiful & light to match the almond blossoms. These biscuits are not strictly speaking ” Amaretti ” biscuits they are called Ricciarelli. A deliciously light, moist almondy biscuit from Siena, flavoured with orange zest. The lightness comes from them being made with ground almonds, sugar & egg white. There is no flour or butter in this recipe…..
Ricciarelli (Almond Biscuits from Siena)
Adapted from The Travelers Lunchbox Recipe
Makes about 16, vegetarian
- 150 gr ground almonds
- 140 gr caster sugar
- about 75 gr icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- the zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- about 1 tsp orange juice
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sieve the ground almonds into a bowl to get rid of any big lumps. Mix in the caster sugar, 50 gr of the icing sugar, the baking powder and orange zest until well combined. Beat the egg white in a clean bowl to soft peaks then stir it into the almond mixture. Mash everything with a wooden spoon, add the almond extract and the orange juice and mix it all together until you have an almondy paste like in this photo below.
Put the remaining icing sugar on a small plate (you may need more). Take out a small amount of the paste and roll it into a ball, in the palm of your hand, about the size of a walnut. Roll it slightly to form an oval (almond) shape and roll it in the icing sugar, flattening it out slightly. Put it on the lined baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the almond paste leaving enough room in between each one for them to spread a little.
Sieve over the rest of the icing sugar and leave at room temperature to dry out for about 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. They will still be meltingly soft in the middle. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving and store in an airtight container.
Serve after dinner with coffee or as an afternoon sweet treat..
These are the best almond biscuits I have ever tasted. Moist and chewy in the middle like a marzipan melting moment. They are really easy to make too. Everyone would be really impressed if you were to make these for a dinner party and they would also make lovely gifts. Just remember about the drying time of 2 hours, it may seem like a pain. I can’t stand waiting either, especially for these, but they are definitely worth the wait…..!