Food + Drink: Lemon Amaretti

When I was little, I always hated Italian style biscuits.  The flavour was very strong (usually almond or some kind of liqueur) and they weren’t very sweet.  They also had dried fruit or glacè cherries, which I hated (as most kids do).  Being half Italian though, Italian biscuits were always around.  Come some years later (try 25) and I finally really enjoy them (except the red wine and fennel seed ones!).

I made traditional style amaretti last Christmas and really enjoyed the flavour and texture, although I felt they were too sweet.  When I was introduced to lemon crackle cookies I just absolutely loved them, but realised they were just amaretti with lemon.  You see, I love lemon, especially in cakes and biscuits, so it was only a matter of time before I perfected my own lemon amaretti.  The first batch I made were delicious, but a bit too sweet (I’m not a fan of overly sweet things), so I cut out some sugar, added more lemon, and adjust the icing sugar technique.

I made these yesterday and I’m sold!  My new favourite biscuit.  These have the perfect sweetness, are chewy on the outside but soft on the inside, and the lemon is perfect.  Store them in an airtight container for a couple of weeks (if you don’t eat them all within a few days that is, but they do get softer over time and lose their chewiness).

LEMON AMARETTI

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
Pinch sea salt
2 egg whites
Dash of vinegar
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 160°C.  Line 2 trays with baking paper.

Place the almond meal, sugar, lemon zest and juice, bicarb soda and salt in a bowl and mix well.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and dash of vinegar for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the almond meal mix into the egg whites until it comes together as a thick dough.

Roll one tablespoon of the dough into a ball (smaller than a golf ball) and place on a tray, making sure to keep 2 inches between each  ball (they will spread).  Dust generously with icing sugar and place straight into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden.  Allow to cool before eating.  Makes around 20.

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