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Cookies with Nuts
Macaroons/Amaretti II (flourless Italian almond cookies, with icing sugar, egg whites, sweet and bitter almonds)
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Special times
Contributed by: Taken from "The Italian Cook Book" by Maria Gentile (The Italian Book Co., 1919)

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10 1/2 ouncles icing sugar
3 ounces sweet almonds, blanched
1 ounce bitter almonds, blanched
2 egg whites

For rolling
Icing sugar


"Skin the almonds and dry them in the sun or on the fire, then chop and grind very fine with one white of egg poured in various times.

When this is done, put half of the sugar, stirring and kneading with your hand.

Then pour everything in a large bowl and, always mixing, add half of the other white of egg, then the other half of the sugar and finally the other half of the white. In this way an homogeneous mixture will be obtained of the right firmness.

Shake into a kind of a stick and cut it in rounds all equal, one third of an inch thick. Take them up one by one with moistened fingers and make little balls as large as walnut. Flatten them to the thickness of a third of an inch and for the rest proceed as said above, but dust with powdered sugar before putting in a hot oven.

With this dose about thirty macaroons can be obtained."


This recipe was taken from "The Italian Cook Book: the Art of Eating Well, Practical Recipes of the Italian Cuisine" by Mrs. Maria Gentile. It was published in the U.S. in 1919. For the entire copyright-free cookbook see www.archive.org........ P.S. Nowadays "macaroons" and "amaretti" tend to be seen as two different types of cookies. "Macaroons" are generally made with egg whites and sweet almonds and "amaretti" include whole eggs and are flavored with the essence of bitter almonds. When Gentile's book was published in 1919 the words seemed to be used interchangeably. The author described this recipe with the two words -- "macaroon" and "amaretti" but the word, macaroon, was printed in the larger font. If someone were publishing the book today, very likely, the word, amaretti would be in larger font. Also, in this day and age, not many North American shops sell "bitter almonds." Most home cooks use bitter almond extract. Luckily, after an arduous search I found a Middle Eastern grocery shop in Montreal (Akhavan) that did sell bitter almonds (an Iranian export). Using the real thing gave the cookies a wonderful flavor (Surprisingly, "skinning" the almonds was quite easy to do)..... Photo and notes: Mary Melfi.

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