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Amaretto Crunch Dessert Shots

Almond cake soaked in Amaretto liquor, layered with glazed Marcona almonds and vanilla mousse. My homemade version of one of my favourite Mini Indulgences from Seasons 52

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Amaretto Crunch Dessert Shots

It’s my birthday weekend, yay! Birthdays don’t really excite me, I’m not exactly “bah humbug” about them but they’re just not really a big deal for me, I don’t do much to celebrate these days. But I am excited about sharing a couple of birthday inspired recipes with you this weekend hence the yay! Tomorrow, on my actual birthday, I’ll be sharing my birthday cake. But today I have these Amaretto Crunch Dessert Shots. 

Amaretto Crunch Dessert Shots

 

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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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 | GiraffesCanBake.com

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 🙂

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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Ingredients
  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
Instructions
  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
Notes
  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 https://www.atipsygiraffe.com/
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Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an a beautiful almond flavour- Italian Amaretti Cookies | GiraffesCanBake.com

Pear and Persimmon Galette

Pear and Persimmon Galette

Happy Friday everybody! Today I’m bringing you another recipe for something I baked a while ago but hadn’t shared the recipe for yet. I don’t know why this one has been locked away in the figurative vault for so long, it’s really, really yummy – other recipes just took precedence I guess, that tends to happen with the holidays! 

Pear and Persimmon Galette

 

Galettes are like a pie or tart without the need for a dish, you form them by hand. Which works out well for me because I don’t currently own a pie dish, plus I absolutely love the rustic look, don’t you? This galette has beautiful flaky pastry wrapped around pears and persimmons in an almond filling, it’s a beautiful combination. I came across some persimmons at the market stalls in my town and picked up a few to bake with. Persimmon are a really yummy, sweet fruit, very similar to Sharon fruit, but you need to make sure they’re properly ripe before you eat them or they’re very astringent. A persimmon is ripe enough to use when you can really indent it when pressed, it should feel almost like pudding underneath the skin – anything less than that and it’ll feel like you ate a box of chalk! Mine took over a week until they were ripe enough, but it was worth the wait – especially combined with the pear and almond, so yummy!

Pear and Persimmon Galette

The beauty of a galette too is you can make them pretty much any shape you like, I made mine rectangular because all of my baking sheets are rectangular and none are big enough to make any other shape! Go nuts with yours though, you could even make it into a little heart shape for the upcoming valentines day! Aww! That might take a little artistic expertise, but I believe in you – besides that rough homemade look is always good! You can also use any kind of pear you like, I used Bosc because that’s what’s readily available here but feel free to use your favourite kind. Bosc are good to bake with though as they hold their shape pretty well – I didn’t utilise that feature by making a pretty pattern, but its definitely an option with these pears. Oh, and the type of persimmon I used is called a Kaki which is the type that looks like a big, orangey tomato.

Pear and Persimmon Galette

 You can serve this up with a little cream, maybe a la mode or even just by itself it’s gonna be great! I served mine with a little cream and some of my spiced caramel which was a really yummy addition! Whatever you serve it with though, everybody is gonna love that buttery, flakey pastry and the sweet, fruity filling – it was certainly a hit at my house!

I have a few more recipes left to share in my fault, but I should have a brand spanking new one for you next week! I baked for the first time since before Christmas today and *fingers crossed* if turns out well I’ll get that recipe up for you soon, I’m very excited about it so I hope it came out!

Pear and Persimmon Galette

 

I’m bringing this yummy little free-formed tart along to Fiesta Friday to share with the masses! FF is a great party held by Angie every week, you should definitely stop by, it’s a lot of fun! Our hosts this week are the ever fabulous Jhuls and JuJu

Do come hang out with me on Social Media, I’m always pretty active on Instagram, – I also have Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to see you guys on there! 

Pear & Persimmon Galette
A free formed tart with flaky pastry filled with pears, persimmons and almond
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For the pastry
  1. 320g plain flour (all purpose flour)
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 90g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  4. 155g 100% vegetable shortening (e.g crisco or trex), cold
  5. 120ml ice water
  6. 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk for egg wash.
For the filling
  1. 2 persimmon
  2. 3 pears
  3. 1 tbsp cornflour
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 5 tbsp almond flour
  6. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  7. 25g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
Instructions
  1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter and shortening ad cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter or two forks, until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs (some pieces may be larger, that's okay).
  2. Pour 120ml cold water into a cup or jug and add a few pieces of ice, swirl and leave to sit for a moment. Add 1 tbsp of the water to the dough at time, mixing in completely after each addition. You don't need to add all the water, just add it until the dough begins to clump together.
  3. Turn the dough out on to floured work surface and roughly roll out so it all comes together, the dough shouldn't be too sticky and should come together easily.
  4. Form into a ball and flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour (up to 5 days).
  5. Meanwhile, slice up and core the persimmon and pears, you can leave the skin on for both (you can peel the pears first if you'd prefer) and place in a large bowl. Add the cornflour, the cinnamon and 3 tbsp of the almond flour and mix to combine. Set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Take the pastry dough out of the fridge and roll into a large rectangle, with the approximate dimensions as your baking tray but bigger.
  8. Sprinkle the brown sugar and remaining almond flour over the pastry.
  9. Arrange the persimmons and pears over the pastry, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge.
  10. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the top.
  11. Fold the edges of the pastry over on top of the fruit, then brush with egg wash.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes, until pastry is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling
  13. Serve warm
Notes
  1. Can be made a day in advance, you can reheat it under the grill/broiler for 10 or so minutes - keeping a close eye to watch it doesn't burn.
A Tipsy Giraffe https://www.atipsygiraffe.com/
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