If you love Italian desserts do not miss this recipe: Sicilian Almond Cookies
Sicilian Almond Cookies are a famous local dessert typical of Sicily. Soft and tasty, they are fast to make (and to eat…). They are also known as marzipan or almond pastries and are a gluten-free dessert.
This recipe is without flour. You need 4 ingredients: peeled almonds, sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract.
In some Sicilian Almond Cookies recipes you can find candied orange peel, pureed and added to the mixture (about 50g), and a little honey. I think the recipe I used is faster while respecting the Sicilian tradition. You can use almond flour, although biscuits made with peeled almonds taste much better.
For decoration I used some peeled almonds, but you can use candied cherries, coffee beans or flaked almonds as well.
If you are interested in another recipe made with almonds then read: How to make Caprese Cake (Torta Caprese)
Sicilian Almond Cookies Recipe
- 200 g (7oz) of peeled almonds
- 200 g (1 cup) of sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- peeled almonds for decorating
In a mixer grind almonds and sugar in order to reduce them into a rather fine flour (1) (2).
Add egg whites (2) and vanilla extract then mix everything. The mixture of almond paste has to be firm (3).
Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and make cookies squeezing the dough directly on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper (4). Decorate each almond cookie with an almond (or half-candied cherry or a coffee bean if you prefer) (5). Preheat the oven to 240° (460F) then bake them for 5 minutes. Pay attention to cooking: the almond cookies should be just golden and still soft. This gives you crispy pastries but with a soft almond heart (6).
Let them cool and serve.
Sicilian Almond Cookies Recipe: variants and suggestions
This is the traditional Sicilian recipe of almond cookies and the one that I find perfect (easy, quick and tasty). But there are some variations of almond biscuits recipe. Let’s see:
- Vanilla icing sugar instead of the traditional one. The almond paste is softer and you don’t need to add the vanilla essence.
- Candied peel of oranges. They must be pureed and added to the mix
- Miele di Zagara (orange blossom honey). Zagara is the Italian name for the orange or lemon blossom. It is a honey produced in Sicily, the land of citrus fruits. It must be added to the mix that will become softer.
- Let rest the almond biscuits 10/12 hours in the refrigerator before baking. This depends on the ingredients you have used: if the mix is soft then yes, it’s better to let them rest.
- Whip the egg whites. Not recommended. In the Sicilian original recipe the egg whites are never whipped
- 1 bitter almonds or a few drops of bitter almond extract. Optional, depending on taste.
- Decorations: candied cherries, flakes almonds, pine nuts, coffee beans.
- Almond cookies shape: instead of using the pastry bag you can make balls with your hands and crush them sideways, then add decorations.
- And finally no liquor, no butter and no whole eggs: we are talking about almond cookies original Sicilian recipe…