Anything almond flavored is nostalgic for me. The smell of almond extract transports me back to my childhood summer visits to Sicily. Once, when visiting my Nonna’s house in Siracusa, my dad arrived with a platter of bakery-bought almond cookies. They were crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and studded with red and green candied cherries. Nonna was pleased by the fancy cookies and we all enjoyed sampling them. Soon, we heard a knock on the door- it was the neighbor coming to greet Nonna’s American visitors. “Presto! Nascondi i biscotti! Quick, hide the cookies!” Nonna hissed. They were too good for company.
- 2 1/2 C. finely ground almond flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 C. sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 egg whites
- more of each sugar for rolling
- candied cherries
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In the food processor, pulse the almond flour and sugars until combined. Add the extracts and egg whites and pulse until a dough forms. The dough will be sticky- that’s ok. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Dampening your hands with water helps to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. Roll the balls first in white sugar, then in powdered sugar. Place the dough balls about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Press a candied cherry into the center of each cookie. Bake for about 18 minutes. Let them rest for a minute before removing them to a wire rack to cool. You can keep these wrapped at room temperature, but they also freeze very well. Don’t forget to hide them when your neighbors come by.