Friday, June 13, 2014

Recipe for ricciarelli, delicious gluten-free almond cookies from Siena, Tuscany

TOSKAANA: torta della nonna & ricciarelli
This photo was taken by Juta Kübarsepp for Nami-Nami, the rest are by me or my husband.  

I’m writing this post in Sicily. I’m in a lovely company of David, Rachel and Johanna, enjoying the delicious hospitality of Anna Tasca Lanza Cookery School. La dolce vita, but more about all that in future posts. I do mention that some very nice cookies were baked here yesterday, which reminded me of a lovely Italian cookie recipe I’ve got in my latest cookbook. 

San Gimignano: Agriturismo Montegonfoli

Just over a year ago, in April 2013, I had a lovely holiday in Tuscany with my dear partner and our three small kids - the youngest was just under 6 months back then. We began our family holiday in Florence, then staying in various agriturismos near San Gimignano. On my birthday we took a day trip to Siena. Everybody said that we’d love Siena, but the truth is, we were not so impressed at all - San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca, Certaldo and the old parts of Colle di Val d'Elsa had been more charming, more real. However, we did love the ricciarelli, the famous almond cookies from Siena. They are light and soft, yet chewy, just a wee bit resistant. If you love marzipan, then you’ll love these!

Certaldo: Osteria del Vicario

Ricciarelli are wonderful with a cup of strong coffee or tea, if you’re not a coffee drinker. In Toscana, they’re a festive food, baked and eaten especially during Christmas, and dipped into a glass of Vin Santo. 

They’re gluten-free. 

Ricciarelli cookies
(Siena mandliküpsised)

300 g ground almonds/almond meal
280 g caster sugar
100 g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar 
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 orange, finely zested
2 egg whites 
2 tsp almond extract (optional)

For dusting:
icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar

Mix ground almonds, caster sugar, icing sugar, baking powder, salt and the finely grated orange zest in a bowl. 

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the almond mixture, folding gently to combine. You’ll have a rather sticky mixture. (Add the almond extract now, if using). 

Using a teaspoon, take about 20 to 30 grams (about an ounce or so) of the mixture and form into oval/oblong patties, flattening them lightly between your palms. Place onto a cookie sheet, covered with parchment/baking paper, leaving some space between the cookies. They won’t spread a lot, but it’s better to be safe. 

Once you’ve formed all the cookies and arranged them onto the cookie sheet, dust them generously with icing sugar. Leave to dry them out at the room temperature for 1-3 hours - the bigger the cookies, the more time they need to dry. 

Bake in a pre-heated 150C oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies are just a little bit golden and hardened at the edges - you don’t want them golden brown, or they’ll be too crispy when they cool. You want your ricciarelli to remain soft and chewy inside!

Cool completely. These will keep for a week in an airtight container.  


More ricciarelli recipes:
Divina Cucina
Jul's Kitchen
Lemons and Anchovies
Cook's Hideout
The Curious Baker


Alanna Kellogg said...

I love the texture of almond cookies -- these look lovely, hope you’re having a great time, fun to see the photos of the kids, they are grown up so fast!

Pille said...

Yes, Alanna. Imagine, the pictures were taken just a year ago! But yes, they grow so quickly :)

Tac dung cua nam linh chi said...

i think your photo is very well!

hạt điều rang muối vietnuts said...


hạt hạnh nhân said...

thank for your recipe!

học đàn guitar cơ bản said...

so beautiful