When I first stumbled upon these delicate almond biscuits, I was at a quaint Italian café, sipping on an espresso. These amaretti-style delights instantly captivated me with their airy texture and rich almond flavor. They were perfect, not just with my coffee but also as an accompaniment to creamy desserts. So, with the cafe owner’s wink and a few of my own tweaks, I decided to bring the magic of these biscuits into my own kitchen. And today, dear reader, I share that magic with you.
Different Types of Almond Biscuits:
Almond biscuits are cherished across the globe, each culture adding its unique twist to the delightful nutty base. Whether you’re enjoying a cup of tea, coffee, or simply craving a sweet treat, almond biscuits are a delightful choice. Here’s a breakdown of some popular almond biscuit variations from various corners of the world:
Originating in Italy, Amaretti are perhaps the most famous almond biscuits. They are made primarily from ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. They come in two main types: Amaretti morbidi (soft) and Amaretti duri (crisp). They often have a slight bitter taste, which complements their sweetness.
Not to be confused with macaroons, French macarons are delicate meringue-based cookies made from almond flour, egg whites and sugar. They are typically filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam filling between two biscuits. Their smooth top and ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”) are their defining characteristics.
Another gem from Italy, Ricciarelli are almond biscuits from Siena. They have a soft, chewy texture and are typically shaped like diamonds. Made with almonds, sugar, honey and egg whites, they are often flavored with orange or vanilla and topped with powdered sugar.
These are traditional Spanish almond cookies that are often enjoyed during Christmas. Made with almonds, sugar, flour, and lard, they have a crumbly texture and melt in your mouth. Their name comes from the Spanish word “polvo” meaning powder, reflecting their powdery consistency.
A festive treat in Greece, Kourabiedes are shortbread-style cookies enriched with almonds. After baking, they are coated in icing sugar, giving them a snowy appearance. They’re often associated with celebrations, especially Christmas and weddings.
Biskut Badam (Malaysia):
In Malaysia, Biskut Badam refers to almond cookies. These biscuits are often crumbly and buttery, containing both ground almonds and almond slices for added texture.
Chinese Almond Cookies:
A staple in many Chinese bakeries, these cookies are round, flat, and topped with an almond. They have a crumbly texture and a mild almond flavor, often enhanced by almond extract.
These are thin almond cookies from Germany. They are crispy and laced with almond slices, offering a rich, toasted almond flavor.
Each of these almond biscuits carries the essence of the region they come from, with unique flavors, textures, and baking techniques. Whether you’re traveling the world or exploring through your palate, almond biscuits offer a delightful journey of discovery.
How To Make Almond Biscuits Recipe Overview:
This almond biscuit recipe aims to reproduce that light, airy finish that makes amaretti biscuits so special. Using minimal flour, the primary flavor and texture come from the ground almonds. The cooking time for these beauties is around 15-18 minutes, and this batch should yield approximately 20 biscuits, depending on their size.
Tools and Equipment Needed:
Mixing Bowl: A medium-sized bowl should suffice to mix all your ingredients comfortably.
Electric Whisk: This will help in achieving the stiff peaks from the egg whites swiftly.
Baking Sheet: You’ll need this to place your biscuits before baking.
Parchment Paper: To ensure your biscuits don’t stick to the baking sheet.
175g caster sugar
5 egg whites
175g ground almond
2.5 tbsp plain flour
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Gradually fold in the caster sugar, ensuring you maintain the airy texture of the whipped egg whites.
Gently fold in the plain flour and ground almonds until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Using a spoon, drop dollops of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving ample space between each to allow for spreading.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until they turn a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
Nutritional Value (per biscuit):
What’s the difference between ground almonds and almond flour?
Answer: Ground almonds and almond flour are often used interchangeably in recipes, but there’s a subtle difference between the two. Ground almonds, often called almond meal, are made by grinding whole almonds with the skin on, resulting in a coarser texture. On the other hand, almond flour is made from blanched almonds (almonds without skins) and is typically much finer. Depending on the desired texture of your biscuits, you can choose between the two. However, almond meal tends to give a more rustic feel and a slightly chewy texture to the biscuits.
Can I make these almond biscuits vegan?
Answer: Yes, you can make vegan versions of these biscuits. Instead of egg whites, you can use aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas). It whisks up similarly to egg whites and can create a similar texture. Remember to adjust the quantity and consistency as required.
Why are my almond biscuits too flat or spread out too much?
Answer: If your almond biscuits spread out too much while baking, there could be a few reasons. Over Mixing the batter can deflate the air from the whipped egg whites, causing the biscuits to spread. Additionally, ensure your baking sheet isn’t too warm when you place the dough on it. Lastly, make sure there’s enough space between each biscuit to prevent them from merging together.
How should I store leftover almond biscuits, and how long will they last?
Answer: Store your almond biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature. When stored correctly, they can last for up to a week. If you wish to keep them for longer, you can freeze them. To serve, simply let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours.
Can I add other mix-ins or toppings to this almond biscuit recipe?
Answer: Absolutely! This almond biscuit recipe is quite versatile. Feel free to add mix-ins like chocolate chips, dried fruits, or even a sprinkle of sea salt on top before baking for an added twist. If you’re looking for a more festive touch, a dusting of powdered sugar after baking can elevate the appearance and taste.
Crafting these almond biscuits has always been a delightful experience for me, and I genuinely hope it becomes one for you too. They’re a testament to the fact that with simple ingredients and a touch of love, you can create something truly magical. Enjoy them with your favorite drink or as a companion to your desserts.