Macaroons are sweet foods of dry confectionery, more precisely cookies, that according to the original recipe can assume a dry or soft consistency; all macaroons have a typical bitter-sweet taste, a more or less convex discoidal shape, a rough and cracked surface, and a beige color tending to golden.
The variability of the recipes (and therefore of the consistency) of amaretti is due to the relative local tradition; it is not very clear which is the geographic area that first saw these cookies appear on the table of the privileged classes, but it seems that the regions (or the kingdoms, considering the historical period) to contend the primigenie of amaretti are three: Piedmont, Liguria and Sicily.
The Amaretti piemontesi di Saronno, in all likelihood, are currently the best known (perhaps in relation to the alcoholic beverage of the same name), and are also a popular ingredient in the formulation of various sweets, spoon desserts and filled pastries. Their recipe makes them drier than the other variants, while the Ligurian amaretti of Sassello are distinguished by a soft texture and a lighter color; those of Sicily are not attributable to a city or a well-defined area of origin but, in view of the considerable production of almonds, it is not to be excluded that they may represent a typical regional preparation.

Basic Ingredients and Recipe Video

The basic ingredients for making amaretti are: sweet almonds (fruit of the P. dulcis tree), granulated sugar (sucrose) and hen’s egg whites. It is not uncommon that almonds are substituted by a raw paste of marzipan (a mixture of almonds, egg whites and sugar), with other oily seeds (such as hazelnuts, fruit of the C. avellana tree) or with coconut flour (fruit of the C. nucifera tree), as well as it is possible that egg whites are integrated with some yolks.

The most attentive readers will certainly have noticed bitter almonds (fruit of the P. amygdalus tree or seed of apricots or peaches) are NOT included among the ingredients; this is because, in fact, the addition of this ingredient varies considerably from one recipe to another and some do not include it at all. Moreover, in all the traditional recipes of macaroons the presence of flour is excluded, therefore the dough is semi-liquid; at home or in small restaurants, the shaping is done by using a pastry bag (sac à poche) provided with a smooth mouth. The cooking of the macaroons takes place in an oven with a temperature of about 150-180°C (variable time depending on the cooking mode: ventilated, static, with or without steam).

WARNING! Bitter almonds are a highly controversial food; they are rich in amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside that by hydrolysis releases benzaldehyde, glucose and hydrogen cyanide; this last molecule is STRONGLY toxic to humans and in high concentrations can lead to poisoning and even death (6-10 seeds in children and 50-60 seeds for adults).

Video Recipe – Homemade Soft Macaroons

Soft Macaroons

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Complete List of Amaretti Recipes

Other recipe examples

Nutritional values (per 100 g of edible part)

  • Amaretti variant 1
  • Ingredients: 1000g granulated sugar, 350g peeled sweet almonds, 60g peeled bitter almonds, 100g egg white, QB vanilla. Method: Chop the almonds with half the sugar and one egg white, work by hand adding the rest of the sugar and egg white, form the dough with a pastry bag with a smooth nozzle and bake at 180 ° C.

  • Cocoa macaroon variant:
  • Ingredients: 1000g of sweet peeled almonds, 2600g of caster sugar, 150g of cocoa, 200g of egg whites. Method: as above, adding cocoa during processing, dust them with sugar before baking.

  • Pasta for sweet macaroons:
  • Ingredients: 2500g granulated sugar, 1500g peeled sweet almonds, 700g egg whites, QB grated lemon peel. Method: as in Variant amaretti 1.

  • Pasta for hazelnut macaroons:

Ingredients: 1000g of sugar, 600g of peeled hazelnuts, 320g of egg whites. Method: as in Variant amaretti 1.

Nutritional characteristics

On the side is reported the translation of “Variant amaretti 1”, obtained by analysis of the ingredients reported and not by citation of research bodies or commercial labels applied on the packages of the cookies purchased.
Macaroons are highly energetic foods, they have a considerable quantity of simple carbohydrates and lipids, even though unsaturated fatty acids predominate over saturated ones; proteins are present in fair quantity but they do not contain a complete aminoacidic pool. Dietary fiber in macaroons is worthy of attention.
From the point of view of mineral salts, macaroons are rich in potassium, whereas as for vitamins the contribution of tocopherols (vitamin E) is outstanding.
NB: Remember that macaroons made with bitter almonds contain potentially toxic molecules, therefore (especially in children’s diet), it is advisable to consume them with moderation and in any case in REDUCED portions.