Chewy Italian Almond Cookies With Jam

italian almond cookies

Chewy Italian Almond Cookies With Jam

Chewy, soft and full of delightful almond flavor, Italian Amaretti Cookies are a wonderful option for holiday baking. The cookies are gluten-free and made with simple ingredients like almond flour, egg whites, almond paste for flavor and sugar.  We’ve added jam to the center of these chewy Italian Almond cookies to elevate them for the holidays. 

Amaretti is the Italian name for macaroons, which means “little bitter things“. Crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft inside, these small, domed-shaped cookies originated in Venice, Italy during the Renaissance period.

Amaretti cookies are made from either ground almonds or almond paste, along with sugar and egg whites, and can be flavored with chocolate or liqueurs. 

One of my favorite summer festivals is the Italian festival that happens annually in Belmar.  There is a wide variety of pizza, pasta, sausage and peppers, and authentic Italian desserts.  I go exclusively for desserts because of my love of chewy almond cookies.    There are some fabulous Italian bakeries that have Amaretti cookies, jam-filled almond cookies, pine nut topped cookies, rolled sliced almond cookies – the options are endless. 

I recreated a jam-filled amaretti cookie recipe using cherry and apricot preserves.  If you don’t like the jam, you can just make the cookies without the thumbprint and jam and they are delicious on their own, but the jam definitely makes them extra special for the holidays. 

Ingredients

  • egg whites – the base of the cookie is egg whites beat to stiff peaks, which help keep the cookies light, airy and chewy. 
  • pinch of salt – this helps the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  • almond flour – almond flour is ground blanched almonds – this recipe calls for 5 cups – so you’ll need a couple of bags of the Open Nature almond flour.  You can also find almond flour under the Bob’s Red Mill brand in the Safeway baking aisle. 
  • granulated sugar – organic cane granulated sugar is mixed with almond flour to add sweetness and a chewy texture to the cookies.  The sugar is also used to help shape the cookies into round balls before baking as the dough is very sticky. 
  • vanilla extract and almond extract – flavor additives that give the cookies their distinctive almond flavor.  You could also substitute amaretto liquor for a sweeter flavor in lieu of the almond and vanilla if you want a different flavor profile. 
  • powdered sugar – the cookies are rolled in powdered sugar before baking to give them a nice crinkled coating. 
  • all-natural jam or preserves – we like to use the Signature SELECT Like Homemade preserves and or the O Organics preserves.  Not all preserves are the same – if you read the lables, many have high fructose corn syrup and artificial thickeners and sweeteners.  I prefer to keep my cookie as natural as possible by using all-natural preserves.  Any flavor works for the cookie.  Apricot is a traditional flavor, but strawberry, cherry, or raspberry are also delicious. 

 

italian_amaretti_Cookie_ingredients

How to Make Jam Filled Chewy Italian Almond Cookies

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Separate 5 egg whites into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. 

You’ll fold the almond flour and sugar into the egg whites in thirds.  

Fold 1/3 of the almond flour mixture into the egg whites with a spatula.

Add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the almond flour and egg whites, gently folding it in. 

Add the 2nd third of the almond flour to the egg white mixture and fold gently with a spatula until combined.

Add the remaining almond flour to the egg white mixture and fold until incorporated.  At this point, the dough will have a thick almond paste-like texture.

Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a separate bowl. 

italian_almond_Cookies

 

Using a cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and place it into the granulated sugar bowl.  Roll the dough to coat with the granulated sugar, then form it into a round ball and flatten slightly.

Roll the round biscuit into the powdered sugar, then place it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing down slightly to flatten the cookies.   Repeat until all cookies are ready to bake. 

With a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, gently press an indentation into the center of the cookies for the jam.

Place 1/4 teaspoon – 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie. 

Bake in a 325° F oven for 22 minutes. 

The jam may spread a little while baking, but that is ok.  If you prefer perfect round thumbprint cookies with no jam spreading, then create the impression with the teaspoon and bake the cookies.  Remove from the oven at 18 minutes and carefully add the jam to the center of the cookies and finish baking for 5 minutes.   

There are also special cake and pastry fillings that you can buy in the baking aisle, under the Solo brand that do not spread.  These spreads have corn syrup and corn starch that help keep the shape intact while baking.   

italian_almond_Amaretti_Cookies_Recipe

italian almond cookies

Chewy Italian Almond Cookies With Jam

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Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Amaretti Cookies, Chewy Italian Almond Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 32 cookies
Calories:
Author: Eva Fry

Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup jam or preserves apricot, strawberry, cherry, or raspberry

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Separate 5 egg whites into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar.
  • You'll fold the almond flour and sugar into the egg whites in thirds.
  • Fold 1/3 of the almond flour mixture into the egg whites with a spatula.
  • Add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the almond flour and egg whites, gently folding it in.
  • Add the 2nd third of the almond flour to the egg white mixture and fold gently with a spatula until combined.
  • Add the remaining almond flour to the egg white mixture and fold until incorporated.  At this point, the dough will have a thick almond paste-like texture.
  • Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a separate bowl.
  • Using a cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and place it into the granulated sugar bowl.  Roll the dough to coat with the granulated sugar, then form it into a round ball and flatten slightly.
  • Roll the round biscuit into the powdered sugar, then place it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing down slightly to flatten the cookies.   Repeat until all cookies are ready to bake.
  • With a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, gently press an indentation into the center of the cookies for the jam.
  • Place 1/4 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie.
  • Bake in a 325° F oven for 22 minutes.

Notes

The jam may spread a little while baking, but that is ok.  If you prefer perfect round thumbprint cookies with no jam spreading, then create the impression with the teaspoon and bake the cookies.  Remove from the oven at 18 minutes and carefully add the jam to the center of the cookies and finish baking for 5 minutes.   
There are also special cake and pastry fillings that you can buy in the baking aisle, under the Solo brand that do not spread.  These spreads have corn syrup and corn starch that help keep the shape intact.   

chewy italian almond cookies w

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