Saturday, 26 March 2011

spring, cookies and paolo conti

Dear everybody, it's spring. And yet, should you ever find yourself in need of an excuse to stay inside on a beautiful sunny afternoon with a glass of Amaretto Disaronno to listen to Paolo Conti - then amaretto cookies should be that excuse.

For me, Paolo Conti has been the ultimate music to cook to ever since I saw Bella Martha while hiding from my homework in the old Kino Andorra some evening in high school (watching German films almost qualified as homework, as I told myself). And I've had a long-running love story with Amaretto Disaronno ever since the evening of one 7 March a few years ago, when in the train on the way back to Saint Petersburg from a kommandirovka in Finland one of my Russian colleagues glanced at her handbag and then at me, and with a mischevous smile announced that we we needed a little something to celebrate the 8 March.

That little something turned out to be two flask-sized bottles of Amaretto Disaronno. One for each of us.

So, when I found a recipe for amaretti moelleux on this beautiful blog, there was no way I was going to pass. Replacing the almond extract with real amaretto liqueur, I made these today, and they turned out to be the best cookies ever. Dead serious. I've already eaten at least 5 of them, and it breaks my heart that I am very soon going to have to part with the rest of them, which are going to go stay with my brother as a housewarming present. But I think I'll make another batch tomorrow...

soft amaretti cookies

2 egg whites
150 g caster sugar
50 g wheat flour
175 g ground almonds
a splash Amaretto Disaronno
a pinch of salt
confectioner's/icing sugar for coating

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until frothy and even. Carefully add the caster sugar, little by little, while continuing to whisk to create a silky base merengue. Add the flour and the almonds to the merengue and mix again. When the mixture is even, add a splash of Amaretto to season.

Use two teaspoons to make small balls of dough. Roll the balls in a bowl with confectioner's sugar to coat them, pass them between your hands for a moment to shake off any extra sugar and then put them on an oven plate, flattening them a little bit with your fingertips. Bake in 180'C for 10-12 minutes, long enough for the cookies to catch a little colour but leaving them soft on the inside.

Have a lovely Saturday evening! Tomorrow I'll share some pictures I've taken lately, in between everything. But for now, I'm off to surrender the cookies.

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