Delicious, almond-infused, traditional soft Italian Amaretti cookies which are naturally gluten and dairy free. Made with ground almonds, they have an almost marzipan quality to them. Perfect with a cheeky cup of coffee.
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Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies for World Cancer Day
These Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies are truly special. And were made in memory of my mother who I sadly lost unexpectedly in early 2018 to Pancreatic Cancer. But they are also a fitting tribute to the 9.6 million people who die every year from cancer worldwide… And to those incredible people who work tirelessly every day to find cures and treatments.
The 4th February marks World Cancer Day… A day used to raise cancer awareness and take action against this deadly disease since the start of the millennium.
I lost both my parents to cancer (my father when I was just 18)… As well as many friends and colleagues over the years. Thus, World Cancer Day feels particularly poignant.
Pancreatic Cancer – ‘The Silent Killer’
Although my mother had probably had this ugly disease for a long time, it was only a week and a half from diagnosis with Pancreatic Cancer to her death. Looking back, it seems inconceivable that symptoms were not identified earlier. Indeed, the cancer must have lain ‘undiscovered’ for many months… If not years…
But Pancreatic Cancer is known as the ‘Silent Killer’ for good reason. It masquerades within symptoms which could be anything but… Yet it kills with the precision of a carefully-targeted bullet… And has a 5 year survival rate of less than 7% (the lowest of all common cancers).
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer can be vague and easily explained away. They include abdominal and back pain, indigestion and weight loss… Changes in bowel habits, bloating and wind, loss of appetite, nausea and recently diagnosed diabetes.
Mum had pretty much all of them at one stage or another. While some were explored and tested, all were ultimately dismissed. Shockingly, not one medical professional questioned the health of her pancreas.
In hindsight, many of the symptoms were as clear as day. The doctors simply did not look in the right place at the right time. Or consider them with appropriate curiosity.
I won’t dwell on what it meant to (all too briefly) care for my mother in her final days. But would urge looking up how this deadly disease manifests… Stay armed with that knowledge just in case you ever need to know.
Why these Italian Amaretti Cookies are truly special
It was my mother who gave us our Italian heritage and also our love of food. Born to Italian parents, she introduced foods that my friends had never heard of, let alone eaten. Visits to ‘Nana’s’ house often meant dodging fresh-made spaghetti draped round the kitchen. And I relished trips to the Italian deli… Picking up ravioli shells, finely sliced salami, Parma ham, olives and the annual boxed Panettone.
There was always cake or dessert in the house too. Mum loved to bake and no excuse was needed to create.
In memory and in celebration of her life and Italian roots, it seemed only fitting to make something authentically Italian and traditional. And so came about these Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies… Originally published in 2018.
What are Soft Amaretti Cookies?
Amaretti cookies are traditional in Italy… And often shared as gifts and at celebrations. But this particular recipe should not be confused with its dry-baked, crunchy relations. Because these are Soft Italian Amaretti cookies… Pungent with an intense almond hit… And a chewy, cracked outer shell surrounding a soft, almost-marzipan centre.
Known in Italy as Amaretti morbidi (morbidi meaning ‘soft’), they are heavenly rapture for almond lovers. But they are also naturally dairy and gluten free… Made with little more than ground almonds, egg white and sugar. Even better, Amaretti are incredibly simple to make… A batch can be created from end to end (and probably eaten) in 30 to 40 minutes flat.
Why not flavour them with a generous hit of Italian Amaretti liqueur (I use Disaronno)? And for a slightly more intense flavour and aroma, add a little extra almond extract. Either way, with their crisp shell and slightly gooey interior, these cookies are difficult to leave alone. The solution? Plan ahead and make a double batch…
When to share Amaretti Morbidi
Italian Amaretti Cookies are total heaven with a cup of coffee. And they make the best ‘comfort’ cookies. But they also make a perfect food gift. Think Valentines Day, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas.
Why not give them a try? Honestly…they are really easy to make, so no excuses are needed… And if you do make them, let me know! I’d love to hear how you like them. Pop a comment below or tag me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Come follow me! Or subscribe using the box below for all the latest from Gluten Free Alchemist.
love these Italian Amaretti cookies? you’ll love my other nutty cookie recipes Too :
- Soft Nutty Cookie Bites (Almond, Hazelnut-Chocolate or Pistachio)
- Italian Lemon Amaretti Cookies
- Chocolate Amaretti Cookies (Amaretti al Cioccolato)
- VEGAN Chocolate Amaretti Cookies
- Gluten Free Lebkuchen Cookies
- Baci Di Dama (Ladies Kisses)
- Melt-in-the-Mouth Hazelnut Shortbread
- Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
- Blackcurrant & Dark Chocolate Macaron
- Raspberry White Chocolate Macaron
- And for ALL the gluten free biscuits, why not explore our Cookies & Biscuits Index?
For everything else, we now have an amazing pictorial Gluten Free Recipe Index for you to browse and be inspired.
Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies (gluten free; dairy free)
- large mixing spoon
- 2 shallow bowls
- food gloves (optional)
- wire cooling rack
- 2 large egg whites (approx 70g)
- 190 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 170 g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 20 ml Amaretti liqueur and/or ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2½ tbsp caster sugar
- 2½ tbsp icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Fold in the almonds, sugar and vanilla.
- Gently stir through the liqueur and/or almond extract. You should now have a very thick, sticky dough.
- Tip the caster sugar and icing sugar for coating the cookies into two, separate shallow bowls.
- Scoop out walnut-sized chunks of the dough using teaspoon and roll into balls using your hands (the mix is very sticky, so food gloves may be helpful).
- Roll each ball as you make it in the caster sugar followed by the icing sugar and place on the baking tray, leaving a slight gap between them.
- Very slightly squash the top of each ball with your finger.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp on the outside, but still quite pale in colour.
- Leave to cool on the baking tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
This post was originally published on 9th February 2018 and updated on 3rd February 2020