I love almond anything and these traditional Italian Christmas cookies are quick and easy to make for any holiday gathering with pre-made or store-bought almond paste. At only 30 to 40 calories per cookie, who can resist eating a few? They are gluten and dairy free, and if you make them with egg replacer they can even be Vegan. Be careful not to overcook them or they turn into little rocks.
Cook Time: 20 – 30 minutes
1 extra large EGG WHITE (Vegans can use EGG REPLACER)
1 8-ounce can ALMOND PASTE (or make 14-ounces of your own as follows)
1-1/2 cup BLANCHED ALMONDS or ALMOND MEAL/FLOUR
1-1/2 cup POWDERED SUGAR
1 EGG WHITE
(Vegans can use EGG REPLACER, with 3 teaspoons of CORN SYRUP)
2 teaspoons ALMOND EXTRACT
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/2 cup granulated SUGAR
18 MARACHINO CHERRIES, optional
18 Sliced ALMONDS, optional
- If you are making your own almond paste then do it at least the night before you make the cookies because it needs to be refrigerated to firm up.
- To make almond paste:
- In a food processor, GRIND the blanched almonds (or use almond meal/flour already ground)
- COMBINE the ground almonds and sugar and PULSE until well mixed
- ADD almond extract and pulse again until combined
- ADD egg whites (or egg replacer and corn syrup) and mix until it forms into a dough. If the mixture is too wet, add more sugar or almond flour
- TURN OUT onto a clean work surface, KNEAD a few times, and ROLL the dough into a log
- SPLIT the log into 2 servings (about 7-ounces each). Then WRAP each log in plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer.
- PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F
- LINE a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- COMBINE almond paste (after you break it into pieces for easier blending) and sugar in food processor.
- ADD egg white (or Vegan egg replacer) and mix in the food processor until the dough is sticky (2 or 3 minutes). (Note: If you chose to go the Vegan route, the cookies are not as chewy which is why you might want to add corn syrup, but it just isn’t the same as egg whites and it is hard to get the dough tacky enough.)
- DROP rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
- TOP cookies with either 1/2 a cherry or a sliced almond. You may have to press the cherry or almond into the cookie a little bit to make it stick.
- BAKE 15 – 20 minutes on the middle shelf and then move them to the upper rack for 5-7 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown in color.
- MOVE cookies and parchment paper to a cooling rack and let them completely cool before placing in airtight containers.
Inspired by the “Almond Macroons” recipe on the side of the Solofoods Almond paste box. https://solofoods.com