These are amazingly good….. Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds….. Really easy to make, but dangerously moreish, they are chewy bites of gluten free & dairy free loveliness.
Way back in the Autumn when I attended a gluten free baking course with Adriana Rabinovich, she made a plate of Amaretti Cookies which accompanied our morning coffee break. I was instantly hooked. Fortunately, she also supplied us with the recipe and no sooner than I was home, I set about making a batch to share with my family and friends.
As I enjoyed each and every bite however, my mind started wandering into the endless unseen hinterland of my food-obsessed imagination…… If these cookies could be made with ground almonds and dried cranberries, then surely they could be made with any other permutation of ground nuts and yummy additions? The variations could be unlimited!
The seed was sown…… As I began to pair nuts with fruits and chocolate in my head, I started storing flavour ideas in invisible drawers marked according to likely success and urgency to be made. Even the potential colour combinations became important….
Having settled on a a triplicate of flavours, textures and colours : pale, creamy coloured Amaretti (the original recipe), rich cocoa brown hazelnut-chocolate (the Nutella spin-off) and green-tinted pistachio and dried cherry….. I set to work like a witch at her favourite cauldron.
The resulting adaptations on Adriana’s original recipe compliment and contrast each other perfectly in every way…… It is almost impossible to choose to eat only one, such is the allure of their differing exteriors, which tempt you towards the need to try each in turn, if only as a means of deciding a favourite.
And so you should….. Each has its own character, from hue, to aroma to taste and texture…. Beyond the crisp outer shell, you will experience the pungency of almond alongside the chewiness of cranberry…… the depth and earthiness of roasted hazelnut mingled with sweet decadence of cocoa and chocolate…… the sweet exoticness of green pistachio, interwoven with sweet vanilla and slightly tart cherry…..
To make sure the nuts shine, the hazelnuts and pistachios have been roasted before being ground to intensify their flavour.
I hope Adriana will like what I have done with her recipe and I thank her for her inspiration and a base on which to build. Since November I have made these little cookies many times and given them to many people….. I have not had any complaints and the empty tuppawares, tins and plates would appear to be testament to their certified approval.
And if you need to find an excuse to make them……. They are also a perfect recipe for using up left-over egg whites. You can’t get a much better excuse than that!
I am sharing these Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds with the following linkies for April :
The Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up with Marathons & Motivation.
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.
Free From Fridays with Emma over at the Free From Farmhouse.
The Gluten Free Recipe Fix with the Gluten-Free Homemaker.
Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins.
Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too
Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds – Amaretti, Hazel-Chocolate or Pistachio
Amaretti (a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)
Hazel-Chocolate (adapted from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)
Pistachio (adapted from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)
- Base-line baking sheets (with enough space for each cookie batch) with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- In a smallish bowl, mix together the ground nuts, sugar, salt, vanilla powder (for hazelnut and pistachio cookies) and chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg white with the honey (or coconut syrup if using for the hazelnut version) until you have a thick, soft meringue mixture (approx 2 minutes on high setting).
- Add and fold in the almond extract (for Amaretti cookies) and dry ingredients until you have a soft, thick, fully-combined paste.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar into a flat bowl ready to dust the cookies (for the hazelnut cookies, also add a little cocoa to the icing sugar and mix thoroughly).
- Dust your hands with icing sugar and form the mixture into about 10 equal-sized balls, completely coating each with the icing sugar as you go and placing on a baking tray.
- Pinch each ball to form peaks and then bake for 15 minutes until crisp on the outside.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on the baking tray.