Sicilian Almond Cookies with Cherries

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Sicilian almond cookies (Paste di Mandorle) are popular throughout Sicily.  Similar versions of this macaroon type cookie are found all over Italy.  These intense almond flavored cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  They are very easy to make and only require five ingredients.  This version is made using a pastry bag and has glazed red cherries on top.  You can substitute whole almonds in place of the cherries. 

I don’t usually advocate certain brands; but I only purchase glazed cherries from Nuts.com.  The quality is incredible.  There is a big difference between these and the common store-bought variety.  Take my word for it.  I also use a recommended bitter almond flavoring which ups the almond flavor a little more.  Although not readily available, these products can easily be purchased through online platforms.

Sicilian Almond Cookies with Cherries

Difficulty Rating:  Easy
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
6 ounces egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
1 vial Dr. Oetker bitter almond flavoring or 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla flavoring
Glazed red cherries

Special Equipment Needed:  Large pastry bag fitted with a large star piping tip (1M)

Directions:

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the almond flour and sugar together into a large bowl and set aside. 

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat with a whisk until frothy and almost to the soft peak stage.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in almond mixture and the flavoring until thoroughly combined. 

Place mixture in a piping bag and pipe 2-inch rosettes about 1-inch apart onto baking sheet.  Place a cherry on top of each cookie.  Refrigerate cookies for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown. 

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