Ricciarelli are a macaroon type of Italian cookie created in Siena in the 14th century. What makes these cookies so magnificent is that they are chewy on the inside with a light crust on the exterior. Most often Ricciarelli cookies are crescent shaped, but sometimes you find them in a flattened circular shape.
In the countryside of Italy, almonds and lemons are abundant in both central and southern regions. Many traditional desserts are made from ground almonds; including cakes, cookies and even candy. Fresh lemons produce specialty drinks like Limoncello, while candied and zest of lemon are folded into breads like Pannetone, pastry and a multitude of rustic desserts.
Ground almonds are the base of Ricciarelli cookies with a hint of citrus added from lemon zest. Powdered sugar, an egg white, a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract are all the ingredients that comprise Ricciarelli – simplicity makes them best.
After baking, a light dusting of powdered sugar tops the diamond-shaped treats, reminiscent of a milky crescent moon on a dark summer night. Ricciarelli are perfect for dipping into your favorite cappuccino or hot cup of tea, and I personally love to serve them after dinner with friends.
1 1/4 cups sliced almonds
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar + more for dusting
1 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Makes 8-10 Cookies)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On sheet pan, place almonds and toast for 8 minutes, remove and cool.
- Place almonds in a food processor with half of powdered sugar, pulse until fine, about 30 seconds. Add zest of lemon, pulse to combine.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg white until frothy and add remaining powder sugar. Whisk until medium peaks and add salt and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- Fold egg whites with ground almond mixture until combined. Spoon by the tablespoonful onto a greased sheet pan and shape into diamonds with flattened tops. Place sheet pan in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, then let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing. Dust with powdered sugar, Enjoy!