Ricciarelli – Tuscan almond cookies

Ricciarelli (almond cookies)

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Ricciarelli are soft almond cookies. They are typical of Siena, where they are usually enjoyed during the Christmas season.

They are covered with icing sugar, with a soft heart that melts in your mouth, fresh and moist, with a distinctive aroma of bitter almonds.

1
The night before you want to bake the ricciarelli, whip the egg whites with a drop of lemon juice until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold in the icing sugar and ground almond flour; then add the bitter almond extract, orange zest and vanilla seeds
2
Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight, or for at least for 4 hours
3
On the day of baking, place the extra icing sugar on a wooden board and roll the dough into a long sausage shape
4
Cut the dough into small balls. Using your hands, shape then into ovals, then gently flatten them a little
5
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
6
Dust liberally with extra icing sugar and arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space them out well as they tend to expand during baking
7
Bake in the oven for approximately 18 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, they will seem very soft – after cooling and setting they will firm up, so don't panic. Once cool, dust with a little extra icing sugar and serve. They can be kept in an airtight container if not serving immediately
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