Makes about 3 dozen cookies
- 2 1/2 cups sliced blanched almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup egg whites
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Coarsely chopped blanched almonds and confectioners’ sugar, as needed, for garnish
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sliced almonds, sugars, lemon zest, salt, and extract until they form a coarse paste, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the egg whites and continue to process until the mixture forms a smooth paste. (It should be scoopable, not spreadable.)
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a #100 scoop (small ice cream scoop) about 1½ inches apart. Top with a sprinkling of chopped almonds. Let the cookies dry at room temperature for 1 hour (this gives the cookies their crisp crust).
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar.
- Bake until evenly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate and switch the baking sheets as necessary for even baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the baking sheets and then transfer, using a spatula, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
Cinnamon Amaretti: Replace the lemon zest with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Chocolate Chip Amaretti: Fold ½ cup mini chocolate chips into the finished batter.
Orange Amaretti: Replace the lemon zest with 1 tablespoon grated orange zest.
Candied Ginger Amaretti: Fold ¼ cup finely diced candied ginger into the finished batter.