Sardinian amaretti cookies are a soft and chewy almond cookies with a touch of lemon zest. These cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside from the sugar meringue crust and a deliciously soft and tender on the inside with a sweet almond flavor. Bonus: they are naturally gluten free!

These soft amaretti cookies are my absolute favorite Italian cookie that are particular to the region of Italy where I was born. Every summer when we visit my family always has a bag of these waiting for me from my favorite little shop. I grew up on these cookies and I know you will love them too! I hope you create many happy memories making them with you and yours.

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan

Simple Ingredients

  • Almond flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Egg whites
  • Lemon zest
  • Almond extract
  • 15 with 20 almonds without skin
  • Sugar for topping cookies
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History Sardinian Amaretti Cookies

The amaretto (amaretti biscuits plural) is an Italian macaroon made with sugar, sweet and bitter almonds and egg whites. These cookies came about in Italy in the Middle Ages, these cakes can be hard amaretti di Saronno from Lombardy, or soft as the amaretti of Sardinia. The Italian island where I was born! Sardinian amaretti are flavored with a lemon zest. In some cities of Sardinia, a whole almond is placed in the center of each amaretto. They are so unique and remind me of my childhood every time I make or eat them.

Hard and crunchy (the most well known) amaretti cookies come from Northern Italy. These soft amaretti cookies are from Sardegna (Sardinia) and typical to that region of Italy.

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Step by Step photos making Amaretti Cookies

The perfect smooth texture and pretty cracks on the surface of these chewy amaretti cookies depend on incorporating exactly the right amount of egg whites into the ground almond mixture.

That’s the challenge!

Here is the process… it’s a lot easier than you think!

Amaretti process

Italian Amaretti cookies only use almond flour and are naturally gluten free. I recommend a super fine ground almond flour such as, Bob’s Redmill brand. You can buy it on amazon HERE, or most grocery stores.

Combine the sugar, almond flour, lemon zest, and salt. Use a whisk to get out any small lumps. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and add almond extract. Fold in the almond flour a little at a time to the whipped egg whites. Eventually, you end up with a thick and sticky dough.

Amaretti process steps

How to shape the amaretti cookie dough

You can shape them two ways:

1. By Hand. Use a tablespoon to get a portion of the dough to roll into a ball. With slightly damp hands, press your palms into the plate of sugar. Roll each ball of dough with your sugar coated palms and then again in the sugar found on the plate. Place on lined baking sheet. 

2- Use a pastry bag. Place batter into a pastry bag with a large round tip and make small rounds on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar. This is the way you see them in the photos here. In Sardegna, Italia they make them similar to this with pretty peak tops. I like them both ways.

Adding the almond on top is traditional in Italy. You do not have to add them. They do add a special touch!

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan

Soft amaretti cookies are the perfect addition for your holiday cookie platter. They also make great hostess and neighbor gifts. Your family and friends will love this tried and true Sardinian amaretti cookie recipe!

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Made with Amore, Elena.

From My Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on a cake plate

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Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan

Enjoy these cookies with Authentic Thick Italian Hot Chocolate

Have you checked out my NEW CBE PRODUCTS? Take a look at the 2-in-1 cutting and charcuterie board, gorgeous apron, and unique pasta server that you that you absolutely need. The wood products are all handmade in Salt Lake City, Utah. They make great gifts as well!

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Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on a cake plate

Soft AMARETTI Cookies Sardinian Recipe

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2024 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Sardinian amaretti cookies are a soft and chewy almond cookies with a touch of lemon zest. These cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside from the sugar meringue crust and a deliciously soft and tender on the inside with a sweet almond flavor. Bonus: they are naturally gluten free! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups (250 g) almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (110 g) powdered sugar (more for topping)
  • 3 egg whites
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 36 almonds without skin (optional)
  • Plate with 1/2 cup of sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in the center. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk almond flour and sugar together. Add grated lemon zest and salt and whisk a few more times. No lumps or clumps. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to a soft peak stage. Whisk in the almond extract.
  4. Gently incorporate the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Once the dough is completely moist, you are done.
  5. You can shape them two ways: 1. Use a tablespoon to get a portion of the dough to roll into a ball. With slightly damp hands, press your palms into the plate of sugar. Roll each ball of dough with your sugar coated palms and then again in the sugar found on the plate. Place on lined baking sheet. 2- place batter into a pastry bag with a large round tip and make small rounds on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar. 
  6.  Gently place the whole almond in the center of the cookie (you do not have to add the whole almond you can bake without). 
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden brown in color.
  8. Cool before storing at room temperature in airtight containers. Will keep for 1 week.

Keywords: cookies, soft cookies, Italian cookies, amaretti, almond cookies