Almond paste cookies are certainly one of Sardinia's most famous Italian cookies.
The simple taste of the almonds that blend perfectly with the rind of fresh lemons and fire water are a true distinct taste of this Mediterranean Island.
I'm afraid I just can't help myself though, when I find a recipe that has a natural tendency to be used as a base for variations then I have it give it a go.
This Italian almond paste recipe is one of those perfect recipes that worls well with variations.
On this page I will be showing how to use the simple almond paste and transform them into delicious almond paste cookies.
This almond paste recipe not only takes very well to being flavored, with a little patience you can also turn them into eye catching delights that will surely dress up any Christmas spread.
The first thing to understand is that not all ground almonds are the same.
Some almonds tend to be dryer than others depending on the type and quality.
How does this affect your almond paste cookies?
The basic ingredients are always:
500g Ground Almonds
400g Icing Sugar.
120 g Egg whites
Where you have to be extra careful is how much liquid you add. To be able to roll out this almond paste the mixture needs to be firm.
So, although you will need to add egg white to all variations that you wish to try, how much you actually add depends on what you are using to flavor the almond paste cookies. Whether it is a powdered flavoring or a liquid flavoring.
By using a liquid flavoring you will obviously need less egg white, so please be careful and patience and add all liquids gradually.
If by any chance you do over do it with the liquids or egg white and your almond paste is too soft to roll out and be cut into shapes you can simply add more ground almonds and sugar.
When using almond paste to my these Italian Christmas cookies I tend to use flavorings.
I do not add any other ingredients like hazelnuts are sultanas as to keep the almond paste smooth. Simply because these almond cookies are bite size and it is far easier to obtain a perfect cut.
For more variations by adding other ingredients to almond paste take a look at my almond balls page.
Once you have made up your almond paste and you are satisfied that you have obtained the right consistency to be able to roll it out:-->
Now for the fun bit where you let you fantasy run away with you… the decorating!
I use chocolate. Simply dip the shapes into the chocolate and place on greaseproof paper to dry and decorate.
Do make sure that the cookie is completely covered in chocolate as this will act as a seal keeping the almond paste moist.
Here are a few pictures of shaped almond paste cookies that I have made.
Here is a list of flavorings that I have used.
Coffee, strawberry, raspberry, fruits of the forest, orange, lemon, rum, caramel, cherry.
You can of course use any kind of liqueurs as almonds blend flawlessly with practically anything.
These days there are a wide variety of oil flavorings available that are a perfect for this recipe. It is basically what takes your fancy and what you are able to get your hands on.
Just remember to add the liquids gradually otherwise you'll be forever adding ground almonds and before you know where you are you'll be making cookies for Tom, Dick and Harry too!
Have fun trying these almond paste cookies and don't be afraid to try something new!
Here are a few more pages related to almond balls that may interest you.
The Holiday season has heaps of possibilities of creating fun Christmas cookies.
Lots of wonderful things can also be made with simple biscuits dough’s like these Christmas cut out cookies.
Not everyone loves super decorated cookies and when call for simple is in order then these easy Christmas cookies are just perfect.
The holiday season is very near, I will be busy baking and decorating Christmas cookies and be sure that I will take photographs of them all to share with you and I would like to invite you to share your best cookie creations with us too.
Here are some more traditional Italian Cakes made in Sardinia for you to take a look at.