Mamma mia! What happened? June was supposed to be all Italian and then it whizzed by faster than a Roman teenager on a Vespa!
Not that I can complain all that much, mind you. I’ve spent the month enjoying many wonderful meals and best of all, over the past ten days or so, I’ve also been enjoying the fruits of our vegetable garden.
Yes, I’d say Italian June has been quite tasty.
They’re amaretti, but with a bit of a twist in that the recipe calls for pine nuts to be included in the cookie dough.
I’m a relatively new convert to the religion of the pine nut. It was not part of the nut family that I grew up with, which consisted mainly of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. I remember tasting the pine nut for the first time and being strangley captivated by it’s butteriness.
As with my mother’s amaretti, these little beauties are very easy to make and are a very pleasant way to end a meal and to bid farewell to what has been a tasty month.
May July be just as sweet!
Amaretti with Pine Nuts
From Easy Italian: Simple Recipes for Every Occasion by Maxine Clark.
Note: Unfortunately I did not have enough pine nuts to use in the cookie dough so I only sprinkled them on top. I used blanched almonds for the entire dough. You can use a pastry bag to pipe out the cookies or you can just use a spoon and carefully spoon drops of the dough onto baking sheets.
2 cups whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. orange extract (optional)
a handful of pine nuts (for sprinkling)
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In either a blender or food processor, grind the almonds with about a tablespoon of sugar until they are very fine.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites (with a mixer or by hand) until they are foamy. Begin adding the remaining sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating the egg whites until they are very stiff (stiff peaks form).
Gently fold in the nuts and then add the almond and orange extract (be careful not to overmix so that you don’t deflate the mixture).
Using a tablespoon, carefully spoon rounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave a few inches between each cookie.
Sprinkle some of the pine nuts over each cookie and bake for about 30 minutes. The cookies will be firm and lightly golden when they’re done.
Let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and serving.