Amaretti Cookies

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, with delicious almond goodness – these Italian cookies are little bites of heaven 

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Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

Have you ever had a dream about baking or cooking something and then not been able to get it out of your head until you make said thing? Or is it just me that bakes in their dreams? Well, either way, I had a dream about baking Amaretti cookies and they were all I could think about! Which is weird considering they were a complete disaster in my dream (which turned out to be a little prophetic!) – but I adore Amaretti cookies, if a bakery has them I will always buy a dozen and eat them all in one day! So I set out to try and make these little beauties 

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

It seems my dream was pretty accurate though and these innocent looking cookies were a nightmare to make. I don’t even know how many failed batches I made before I made that perfect batch,  it was enough that I almost gave up, I only kept going because I love these darn cookies so much! What is it about almond flour based cookies that are so tricky (I still haven’t mastered French Macarons)? I read countless recipes online, all of which differed fairly substantially so they ended up making me feel even more lost at times! 

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

I tried lots of different things based on the recipes I’d read online and what I knew the cookies should taste and feel like. I tried – whole eggs added at once, egg yolks and egg whites added separately, egg yolks and whipped egg whites, just the whipped egg whites and just egg whites not whipped. I tried – making my own ground almonds, blanching the almonds before grinding and ready ground almonds. I also experimented with adding almond extract and different types of sugar they were rolled in! 

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I lost count of how many failed batches I had! I almost had to take out a mortgage to pay for all the almonds I went through (seriously, why are nuts so expensive?!). In the end, what worked for me was just egg whites by themselves, no whipping and ready ground almonds. If you can I would encourage you to make your own ground almonds, but with my food processor I just can’t get them as finely ground as I needed for the texture I wanted before it started to turn into butter. Whatever way you get your hands on ground almonds, you need to make sure they’ve been blanched first for the best taste. I also added a little almond extract to add a boost of flavour and rolled them in caster sugar to get that crisp outside. 

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

I hope my failures haven’t put you off attempting to make these for yourself, because the end result really is worth the effort. In theory my recipe should give you the same results as me, but it’s a very temperamental dough and it needs to be just the right consistency for them to play nice – if your eggs are slightly bigger than mine or your almond flour slightly drier, you’re gonna get different results. So the key is to look at the dough and add a little more egg white or almonds if it’s too dry or too wet. This recipe calls for 250g ground almonds and 5 egg whites, but I would recommend having extra almonds and an extra egg white on hand so you can add a little more if needed. The dough itself is vey wet and sticky – it looks like kind of like the start of a cake batter after you’ve creamed the butter and sugar and started to mix in 1 egg! If that description leaves you a little confused, I’ve included a photo below (apologies for the poor quality, it was taken quickly with my iphone in bad lighting). 

amaretti cookie dough

Since it’s such a sticky dough it can be hard to roll into balls, the best way to do it I found (without making a huge mess and ending up with more dough on your hands than in the cookies) was to wet your hands and coat lightly in caster sugar. My other tip for these cookies is to use a light coloured baking sheet so the bottoms don’t cook too quickly, if you only have dark ones line it with three sheets of greaseproof paper. This dough doesn’t lend itself well to resting either, it’ll be fine to sit in the bowl while you’re baking a batch but if you roll them into balls and leave them out (or even in the fridge) for even a few hours the egg whites will start to separate from the dough – I learned this the hard way! 

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

What you’re looking for in a successful batch are cookies that spread only a small amount and rise up a little in the centre, and of course you want them to crack. If your dough is too soft they’ll spread out in a mess (I wish I took a photo of my worst spread batch to share with you, they looked like a coconut macaroons ugly step brother!), if it’s too dry you’ll have hard, round balls with no cracking. These are definitely a goldie locks type cookie dough – it has to be just right or they’re gonna throw a tantrum (at least in this fairy tale cookie analogy no bears are gonna interrupt your post cookie nap… unless maybe you live in Canada or something!)

Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |

I’m gonna bring these delicious bites of heaven to Fiesta Friday this week – because honestly, these cookies deserve a party! Come join us, there’ll be lots of yummy treats for the eyes, ears and mouth! 

Do come hang out with me on social media, I’d love to see you guys around there! You can find me on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Facebook

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(note for subscribers: I’m using a new service to send out my new posts by email which is much better for me and should hopefully be creating an easier reading experience for you – however you may have been noticing a few of my old posts coming to your email, it does this whenever I edit a post for the first time since setting up the service, so apologies for that! However you won’t receive the same post more than once no matter how many edits I make!) 

Now for the recipe, I’ll try and be as detailed as possible but if you have any questions just give me a shout πŸ™‚

Amaretti Cookies
Yields 24
Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside - these Italian almond cookies are little bites of heaven
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  1. 250g finely ground almonds
  2. 1/4 tsp almond extract
  3. 200g caster sugar (extra fine granulated) - plus extra for rolling
  4. 5 large egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/350F. Line a light coloured baking sheet with 2 sheets of greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the almonds, extract and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing to combine. Until you have a soft, sticky dough that's almost coming together. See notes for more info
  4. Roll into small balls, about 1 -1.5 inches, and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet with a little space between each one (they won't spread very much so not a lot of space needed)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are turning a light golden and are cracked along the top
  6. Cool on tray for a couple minutes, then transfer to wire wrack
  1. Dough should be very wet and sticky - it will look like the start of a cake batter mix after you've creamed butter and sugar and started to mix in the first egg. See main post for photo reference.
  2. You may need to add more almonds or more egg whites to get the right consistency. For every 10g of almonds you add, add 8g of sugar. If you're adding more egg whites, just pour a little in at a time.
  3. If you're unsure if the dough is right, bake one first and then adjust dough as needed - if the cookie is a hard ball with no cracks you need more eggs whites, if it's spread out way too much then you need more almonds.
  4. Store cookies in air tight container 1-2 weeks
A Tipsy Giraffe
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Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies |


  1. Amanda says:

    I’ve baked in my dreams before too πŸ™‚ Although usually when I’m pregnant, because at that point food is on my mind absolutely 24/7 lol. I admire your determination and positive attitude to get these perfect cookies! They look incredible and I’m sure they taste even better πŸ™‚

  2. Nancy says:

    I dream about baking ALL the time! Happy to hear I’m not alone…
    Bravo to you for not giving up on these cookies, Michelle. It looks as if your final result was perfection. πŸ™‚ (These sound delicious and the texture looks just like the one I buy.)

  3. Loretta says:

    Wow Michelle, such delicate and yummy cookies, I’m loving the ingredients, absolutely no flour, so it has to be gluten free. I like that. I’m on a quest to bake better home made bread and challenge myself. You’re quite the queen of bakers aren’t you? Have you baked bread before and/or biscotti?

    • Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake says:

      Thank you Loretta! Yep they are naturally gluten free, didn’t even think about that!
      The only bread I’ve made before is sourdough, I’m not a big bread baker for some reason, I need to join you in that quest I think!
      I have banana bread in the oven right now, but it’s not quite the same haha

  4. Stephanie says:

    Phew- All I can think about are almonds and cookies now (I think those pictures got to me, big time)- they’re like so close, yet so far! You always manage to find the best things to bake- it’s insane! I need a little more creativity in my life! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sadia says:

    Hahaha! I think i never had any dream as such. But i am surely dreaming of having these cookies now. Btw, are these cookies like moroccan cookies? I have added this to my reading list. I will make this soon. Will let you know how it turned out.

  6. Tina | Mademoiselle Gourmande says:

    YAY, so glad you made it. Even though I already saw the pictures on ig, they look even better here. So delicious! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you pulled through and made it in the end.
    Nuts are expensive… Unbelievable, I love pine nuts and they cost a fortune. Well, you better live off pasta for a couple of weeks now. πŸ™‚

  7. Caroline @ says:

    Im impressed you kept going after a number of failed attempts – I can barely get myself to make something a second time as I end up mulling over how to change it forever. But glad you did as these look great! Oh, and I have dreams/going to sleep thoughts/waking up thoughts on making all kinds of things…

  8. Judi Graber says:

    Interesting how temperamental these cookies are – thanks for all of your experiments as they sure look good. Nuts are too expensive so I am always on the look out for sales and then I freeze them for future use πŸ™‚

  9. Prachi Garg says:

    Never made Amaretti cookies though have tried the store bought sometimes and have loved them.. will be pinning this recipe to make sometime soon ! Thanks for bringing this recipe to FF

  10. Ginger says:

    Well done you for keeping going! I love amaretti but have never thought (or even dreamt!) about making my own. They sound a bit like my cinnamon stars, both in terms of the ingredients and the potential disasters πŸ˜‰
    You got me thinking, though …

  11. Justine says:

    Wow! I definitely admire your persistence. There have been recipes that I’ve had to try at least twice before throwing in the towel, but at least your efforts were all worth it. These look amazing!

  12. Lisa says:

    These are so beautiful and your pictures are AMAZING! These cookies are my favorite! I’m going to grab some almonds and try this out. Thanks!!

  13. Mirella says:

    The recipe calls for one egg white per 50g of finely ground almonds. The accurate recipe, after wasting over an hour of time mixing an unnecessary amount of ingredients, is one egg white per 100g of finely ground almonds. The sugar ratio is also off.

    Not sure how any of the comments could be from real people. The recipe as-is turns into a liquid that could never possibly be made into cookies.

    • Michelle @ A Tipsy Giraffe says:

      I’m sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you, however the ratios stated are correct. I have made this recipe multiple times with great success (as have others).
      I’ve noted in the post that there are various factors that can influence the dough, if yours wasn’t thick enough I would imagine your egg whites were quite large – as I stated in the post you would need to add more almond flour to balance that.

      Good luck with your amaretti cookie quest!

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