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Amaretti Morbidi Cookies

Amaretti Morbidi Cookies

No, not morbid cookies, silly! Morbidi meaning “soft” in Italian. And these almond-and-egg-white cookies are just that: soft. Nothing like the crunchy little cookies we typically think of as amaretti.

I first encountered these cookies two and half years ago in Italy, where Nellie, a close family friend and Italian cooking mentor, brought a bag from her hometown outside of Genoa.

It was all I could do to not eat that entire bag.

Amaretti Morbidi Cookies

We spent the rest of our two-week trip in Italy searching for more of these incredible cookies to take home with us, but it turns out they are almost as hard to find in Italy as the recipe was once we got home.

I knew, just from what Nellie told me, that they were little more than finely ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites. After a few semi-failed attempts (I say semi-failed because the results were still delicious), I finally got the recipe to a point where it was pretty darn close to what I remember. Although they look a little different, the texture is spot on: chewy on the outside, soft and almost marzipan-like on the inside.

I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak the recipe, playing with various stages of beaten egg whites and the proportions of ingredients. In my research I’ve seen versions that use egg yolks, more/less/no flour, even some adding things like potato starch and baking powder. I found the small amount of flour added to the softness of the cookie; without it and they were much chewier. Is this the traditional way? No, probably not, but the traditional way also uses actual bitter almonds or apricot kernals, something that I’m not even sure is available or legal to purchase in the US (Some say that signature almond flavor is actually from trace amounts of cyanide present in the nuts.)

Traditional or not, I’ll take these as a suitable substitute until I can find my way back to Italy to continue my search. Sooner rather than later, I hope!

Amaretti Morbidi (Soft Amaretti Cookies)

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams almond flour or very finely ground almonds
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg whites (about 60 grams)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • confectioners' sugar, as needed

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift together almond flour, sugar, and flour.
  2. In a bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy and fall into soft mounds (not quite soft peaks). Whisk in almond extract. Add to bowl with dry ingredients and stir until it comes together, kneading with your hands if necessary until it forms a sticky dough.
  3. Lightly dust your hands with powdered sugar, scoop out pieces of dough (a small cookie scoop works perfectly) and roll into 1-inch balls. Arrange on parchment or silicon-lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between cookies.
  4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, letting cookies sit out and dry in the meantime for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. When oven is preheated, bake cookies for 20 to 22 minutes or until tops are cracked and bottoms are just barely golden. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies will keep, sealed in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

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69 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Thank you for letting me try one this weekend. I adored it and I’m so glad you posted this recipe soon after :) it’s the perfect little almond bite! Not too strong and not too little. I will have to make these now!

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

    They look like the puffy version of Lofthouse sugar cookies. Sort of cakey and pillowey soft, and very addicting. Like you have one, and it went down in a big, easy, puffy gulp…and you want another! Have no idea if that’s how they taste or are but they look like it :) They’re gorgeous! And I love the purple! And the almond extract that lofthouse’s don’t have, I would love that addition!

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Love the sound of these and they’re way too cute! PS totally need to just hire you to make me some new backgrounds cuz yours always turn out so great!

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:03 am

    What a gorgeous Italian cookie! These look so pillowy soft and perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea. Great recipe, Lindsay!

    Reply

    • maria's sicilian kitchen
      Posted On September 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      they look so good, but why did mine come out flat? Help!

  5. 5
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

    These look fantastic!! Something new to bring to the table, rather than the unoriginal (but delicious!) chocolate chip cookie. Thanks for sharing! xoxo

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

    These look so delicious Lindsay!! I love almond anything but do find that traditional amaretti a little too crunchy for my soft cookie loving heart. I’m so glad this option is out there now!!

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I like a soft cookie, too. My girlfriend makes something similar using marzipan. Love the sound of these little pillows.

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

    These sounds so lovely!

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Such a sweet, soft little itty bitty Italian cookie! Love everything almond…marzipan, etc. Hats off to you, Lindsay, for trying to replicate just exactly what you tasted in Italy…Bravo!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

    mm, these look amazing!
    xx

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

    So cute and pillowy!!

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

    These look great, but I get so frustrated when recipes don’t list volume (cups, etc.) and just give mass measurements. Not how I cook!

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:42 am

      For most recipes, I agree, but in some cases accuracy really does matter and a kitchen scale is truly worth it’s weight in gold (or almond flour. haha). Finely ground almonds/almond flour can vary so much in terms of how finely it is ground, that weight is really the only way to measure it. 200 grams is going to give you about 2 cups of it, although my almond flour was very fine and I feel like it was much less than that.

      Sugar on the other hand is only 1 cup per 200 grams. Cups are deceiving in that sense.

  13. 13
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    The cyanide makes them literally morbid cookies ;)
    But I’m sure yours are just as fab without the death.
    This makes me want to try them out!! I love a good cookie challenge

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

      *chuckle*

      Literally. haha.

  14. 14
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t know about the USA, but in Vancouver, Canada, I’ve seen apricot kernels stocked in pretty much all the Asian markets – always been meaning to buy them and try my own soft amaretti, but have never quite gotten around to it!

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Really? Interesting! I’ll have to pay closer attention next time I’m at one of those places.

  15. 15
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    They look incredible! So puffy, fluffy and light! I am dying not being able to jump up and make these right now! If I were in my own house, trust me I would!

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    These look wonderful. They look light and fluffy!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    These cookies sound so good! Must try very soon. :)

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    They look delicious! And I am glad that you’re trying for us so hard :)

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    These sound so lovely! I would love this paired with a cup of coffee :)

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I love amaretti, but have never had soft ones. I am totally trying this very, very soon. Yum!

    Reply

  21. 21
    Nessa
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    These looks so fluffy and perfect !

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I love cookies and these ones look delicious. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  23. 23
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    these look divine!

    Reply

  24. 24
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Yum! I love almond anything! I can’t believe a soft version even exists. I am so excited to try these!

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    They sound like the Italian cousin of a macaron!

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

      That’s a perfect way to describe them. :) MUCH easier to make too!

  26. 26
    Posted On June 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    So fluffy!! I love Italian cookies. So dainty and light :)

    Reply

  27. 27
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 12:22 am

    When we lived in Taiwan there was a stall near the exit of our neighborhood supermarket that sold almond milk. It was wonderful to inhale the scent of almonds on our way up the strange flat escalator. Then my husband told me that gangrenous limbs smell of almonds. Oh dear. I try to block it out and enjoy almond cookies anyway. I’m excited to try a soft version. These look great.

    Reply

  28. 28
    Susan Broughton
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 4:07 am

    The above recipe sounds really good. I signed up for your newsletter too. Just stopped in to say Hello from The Country Cook, Brandi’s Giveaway! thanks

    Reply

  29. 29
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Yummy! love the amaretti. In our blog we published a cake recipe with amaretti: very good! :D
    Take care
    Jess

    Reply

  30. 30
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 5:16 am

    I love little amaretti cookies – yours look pretty authentic and super delicious.

    Reply

  31. 31
    Alex
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I use bitter almond oil to make marzipan and it does make a huge difference in flavor, I will probably try to add some to that recipe when making it, thank you for pointing it out and the wonderful recipe!!!

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Where did you find it? Curious, as I’ve only seen or used almond extract. Wonder how it compares.

    • Alex Coppe
      Posted On July 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

      I had relatives bring some from Germany… But I found some, Google bittermandel, I have never tried that store, but this is what I use ( http://www.germanshop24.com/products/German-Food/Baking-Ingredients/Dr-Oetker-Bitter-Almond-Flavor.html ) Otherwise amazon sells some bitter almonds but I would use those cautiously (one at a time) as they do contain cyanide, in Germany they can only be found in pharmacies :).
      It gives such a depth in flavor in marzipan in my opinion, it balances with the sweetness. I hope this helps!

  32. 32
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I used to have these when I went to Italy and havent had them for months! I need them back in my life! Must make now!

    Reply

  33. 33
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    So lovely!! Good thing I don’t have to go all the way to Italy to try them, though I wouldnt mind that – but I’ll take these in a heart beat!!

    Reply

  34. 34
    mary morrison
    Posted On June 27, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Can you convert grams to US measurement.

    Reply

    • Posted On June 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

      It is *about* 1 cup sugar and 2 cups almond flour, but especially the almond flour can vary greatly depending on how finely they are ground. I’d highly recommend getting a simple kitchen scale for baking projects like this one where accuracy is key to a successful outcome.

  35. 35
    Posted On June 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for putting a name to these! I had these in Italy a bunch of years ago and I had no idea what they were called (make googling much harder).
    They look fabulous.

    Reply

    • Posted On July 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I only know because I saved one of the wrappers… from 3 years ago. Didn’t bring any cookies home with me but I brought a wrapper! haha.

  36. 36
    Linda
    Posted On July 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    These are absolutely yummy. Made them this weekend, then carried them around in my bag, offering them to everyone I met – saving me from eating them ALL.

    Reply

    • Posted On July 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      You are a stronger person than I am. :)

  37. 37
    Posted On July 2, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I am obsessed with amaretti cookies! Obsessed is actually an understatement as I crave them ALL the time!

    Reply

  38. 38
    Posted On July 2, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Ha ha, I totally read it as morbid as well. The cookies look so great, I love amaretti.

    Reply

  39. 39
    Posted On July 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Almond and Chewy.. All i needed to know about these cookies :) Yum! I cannot wait to try!!! Thanks for sharing!
    xo

    Reply

  40. 40
    Susy Smith
    Posted On July 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! Can you recommend a scale??

    Reply

  41. 41
    Posted On July 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    My mom’s family is Italian and these look like something they’d serve!
    Beautiful!!

    Reply

  42. 42
    Posted On July 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Something about these is just so adorable! I love this recipe :)

    Reply

  43. 43
    Posted On July 16, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Thank you for this recipe. I eat these in Italy, but have never made them. I will be making these very soon!

    Reply

  44. 44
    Posted On July 25, 2013 at 7:58 am

    These look delicious. I love small bite size cookies. I can’t wait to make these. They will probably make it into my gigantic Christmas cookie batch!

    Reply

  45. 45
    Les
    Posted On August 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I just made these and they were SO good! Thank you so much for the recipe! The only thing I had trouble with was getting the egg whites to soft mound. How long should this take and do you have any tips? The cookies turned out amazing anyway though! One of my best pinterest finds to date!

    Reply

  46. 46
    Ashley
    Posted On August 12, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I made these on Saturday and they were delicious! I thought they tasted best 10 minutes out of the oven but our company loved them even hours later after they had cooled. I baked them for 20 or 21 minutes this time and would probably cut it down to 17 or 18 next time so the bottoms wouldn’t be as golden. Just a note if you are making these, the almond flour is very expensive (this is the first time I have purchased it) and it was $13.99 for a 16 oz bag so these are not cheap cookies to make.
    We have an italian bakery nearby that makes a very similar cookie and I had always wanted to find a copycat recipe and this is the closest so thanks for sharing! :)

    Reply

  47. 47
    Sandy
    Posted On August 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Oh my, they so light, fluffy, chewy and delicate! What more could one ask from a little cookie… I obsoletely love them! Thank you for sharing it with us. I had one of these little morsel at a coffee shop and been searching online how to make it ever since. Now I am fulfilled! Many thanks!

    p.s. I love the almond flavour, however, my kids are not so keen. So I made them a bunch with vanilla flavoured ones and save the almond ones for my secret stash… :)

    Reply

  48. 48
    Angela
    Posted On October 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Hi–Thanks for the recipe. I am, too, a big fan of amaretti. I get them when I visit relatives in the Lazio province of Italy. (There’s a store that pretty much sells only amaretti–some dipped in chocolate.)  When I was there 2 years ago, I bought a few vials of the bitter almond essence in a small-town grocery store. If you want, I’ll send you a picture of the packaging, and perhaps your Italian friend can seek it out and send you some.  I don’t think it’s illegal; I, too, was concerned about the “poisonous” aspect and used just a drop or two when I made my amaretti.  (By the way, I’ve been making my own Nutella. Have you tried to do that?)

    Reply

  49. 49
    Kristina
    Posted On December 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    These look delicious, and sound like cookies I ate growing up in Boston. We called them macaroons and since I come from an Italian family, they were on the table all the time. They are sold by the pound in the Italian bakeries in the city and in the suburbs as well, though I live in Los Angeles now and haven’t seen one here — ever. Anyway here is a famous bakery in the North End (Italian section of Boston) that will mail them to you. In the bakeries they sell them with a maraschino cherry on top, slivered almonds, pignoli, or pistachios on top. (My mom sends them to me but they simply don’t hold up well over days unless packaged really well.)
    http://www.mikespastry.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=644958&Screen=PROD&Category_Code=COOKIES&Product_Code=PERLBPLAINSLICEDALMONDMAC

    Reply

  50. 50
    Paige
    Posted On December 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I’m excited to try this recipe, but converting it is such a hassle- I don’t have a scale.
    I wish conversions were included here.

    Reply

    • Posted On December 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Roughly, 200g of sugar is about 7/8 cup and 200g of almond flour is about 1 cup. However I will say there is no truly accurate conversion for weight, which is why I didn’t write the recipe that way, and I can’t promise it’ll work if you don’t weigh the ingredients. Things like flour measurements can vary greatly depending on how it is scooped, for example. A kitchen scale is an invaluable tool in this case, one of the most utilized items in our kitchen, for sure.

      Good luck!

  51. 51
    Paige
    Posted On December 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I managed to find a scale! I made these for a cookie party and I’m very excited with the outcome, they look great! Sweeter than I expected, but so chewy good! Thank you for the recipe Lindsay! :3

    Reply

  52. 52
    Mary
    Posted On December 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Bought some recently in Lidl.

    Reply

  53. 53
    Posted On January 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Happiness is finding a spot-on recipe for a cookie you have been craving for almost 10 years. Well done.

    Reply

  54. 54
    jules
    Posted On January 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Have made these a couple or Times and they are so simple to make but so delicious! I too had been searching for soft almond biscuits in UK to buy but can only ever find the rock hard ones which are nowhere near as nice. Thanks for posting the recipe 

    Reply

  55. 55
    Noreen
    Posted On January 29, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Friends went crazyyyyy over these! I used Trader Joe’s almond meal which is just finely ground almonds. Cookies were medium brown in color because almond meal has the skins from almonds. I will try next time grinding blanched almonds into flour or just buy almond flour. SOOO DELICIOUS!  And EASY! Thank you Lindsay!

    Reply

  56. 56
    Tina
    Posted On February 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I just made these today and they are very yummy! I used my Vitamix for the egg white blending and I used my cookie scoop to make it easy! Cute little cookies with lots of almond goodness! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  57. 57
    Catherine MacDonald
    Posted On March 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Just made these, but instead of the flour, I substituted a gluten free baking mix and a pinch of Xantham gum. Fantastic. Just the thing to go with my tea or espresso!

    Reply

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