All week I’ve been thinking I wanted to bake some cookies. I was having some American-style oatmeal-raisin fantasies and duly gathered up the rolled oats and the brown sugar and whatnot—but with one thing and another I never got around to it. As in life, so in baking, I guess, and I munched on my regular store-bought ginger nuts as I normally do. And then yesterday on my way to Alice’s house I was in the vincinity of the Mediterranean Food Warehouse and saw some ‘biscotti morbidi senza glutine,’ and since Alice is currently gluten-free I picked her up a package and we had them with tea after the lovely spinach dhal she made me.
They were yummy and everything and I totally snarfed them down with a quickness, but pretty expensive and when I looked and saw that there were only four ingredients, I was all, “I can totally make these!” I don’t know why I would get so motivated over these amaretti—considering I actually had half a package of them already in my house, when I couldn’t get it together with the old oatmeal-raisins, but nevertheless with a trip to Moore Wilson garnered me a kilo of almond flour and a lazy Sunday afternoon I was raring to go.
Okay so you see how simple the ingredients are—all except the almond flour, although that may just be a function of a very embarrassing time spent peering down the aisles at Moore Wilson trying to find it, and then I had to ask a dude that works there, and he was like, “Yeah, it’s right in front of your face,” and I was like, “I knew it was! I knew! I just wanted to see if you knew!” Assuming your location skills are better developed than mine, though, I’m not sure where you would get a kilo of ground almond meal if you don’t live near a Moore Wilson—in the States, Whole Foods maybe? Anyway, I used two and a half cups of almond meal, a cup of sugar, four egg whites, a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of almond extract.
Okay so first whip up your eggs whites.
Have a bowl of this nice minestrone I also made this afternoon if you’re feeling like you want to have a little something during your baking session.
Glop in the almond meal and the sugar and the extracts.
Stir it up, little darling.
It’s a pretty sticky batter—when it came together I was like, did I just invent marzipan?
Now this is where things got tricky: you see what I did here, when I put two baking sheets in the oven at the same time? I think it’s probably that my oven is just sort of terrible, but it turned out that the top ones baked too quickly and the bottoms baked too slowly so I had to leave the bottom ones in longer and then I got very confused at what temperature it should be at and how long they should go in. The next batches I made were much smaller, as in the cookies themselves were smaller than the first ones I made, maybe a little less than a teaspoon each. I think I settled on fifteen minutes at 160 Celsius (about 350 Fahrenheit for all y’all statesiders).
They are pretty soft when you first take them out but the outsides harden up after about thirty minutes just on a plate or whatever—even quicker on a wire cooling rack I bet. The insides stay very soft and chewy.
Not all my batches came out this nice and golden-brown, unfortunately, but extensive quality-control taste-testing has determined that these are pretty yummy no matter what the color. They don’t look like the ones I had last night with Alice or the ones (still) in my pantry but they taste pretty awesome, and you see how easy they are to make. You should make them too, on your next lazy Sunday afternoon.