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Dec 5, 2008 07:47 AM

Need Italian Almond Cookie Recipe

I am searching for the recipe for those little Italian almond cookies with the cherry on top. They look as though (probably were) piped out and they are crisp on the outside and tender and chewy in the center. I've tried the recipe from Epicurious but it's not the same. I found another from Allrecipes that looks somewhat similar but I'm hesistant to try it. If anyone has this recipe, I would love for you to share it with me!

Thank you!

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  1. There are a number of recipes for almond cookies here on the "Ciao Italia" website. Maybe you'll find the one you want:

    1. I *think* I might know which cookie you mean, kris. They're always on the cookie plates at my husband's Italian family's houses. I don't know what they're called, though. I think they're crispy-chewy because they're made from something like marzipan or almond paste. The recipe for the Pignoli (Pine Nut) & Cherry Rosette cookies on the link below might help you. It shows that you can put the cherry adaption of the recipe through a cookie press.

      It's the third recipe down. Non-italian versions of cherry rosettes are generally a short, buttery cookie. The Italian version is almond based, as are pignoli cookies. That's why I think this might be what you want.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Steady Habits

        Thank you! I think I'm going to try the rossette recipe. It's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. I know the recipe has almond paste and egg whites in it..and it's definitely piped out of a star tip. Definitely going to try this!

        1. re: krisrishere

          Let me know, kris. I know why you like those cookies you're looking for, 'cuz I do, too!

          The reason I think they might be the ones you want is that the same basic recipe is used for the pine nut cookies, which I *know* have the outside-inside textures you described.

        2. re: Steady Habits

          This is THE recipe! Thank you thank you thank you! I tried it last night and it was perfect. Instead of candied cherries, I used halved marachino cherries and it turned out even better. The only problem is that the dough is so stiff, you can't pipe it through anything. It actually ripped my pastry bag..I feel bad getting a cookie press because I probably won't ever use it unless I'm making these cookies. Any suggestions?

          1. re: krisrishere

            I'm so glad you were able to get *the* recipe.

            Re the piping...ouch re your pastry bag! Do you have any brand name baggies you could use? (Saying "brand name" because I use the store brand for *most* purposes, but *not* when I need something heavier, because they seem thinner gauge.)

            Do you think a parchment piping cone would work?

            If not...I know this won't look the same...but, thinking of things I tend to do when I have to improvise...if I were desperate, I might try something like scooping out equal round measures with a small ice cream scoop or the larger end of a melon baller, flattening the cookie dough with a *flat bottomed* glass (probably with a square of parchment or non-stick foil between the glass and the cookie).

            Then, if I wanted them to be a little bit less plain, I'd place the cherry and use a paring knife to score lines around the cookie, emanating from the cherry out to the edge. (You know, like sun rays.) I guess you'd have to judge how much that dough will spread when baked to determine how wide to make the lines. If you need them a little wider, you could use something you could press down in the dough. (E.g., I have bamboo kabob holders. I might try those.)

            Not the traditional presentation, true...but sometimes you have punt.

            P.S. I had stopped in on the thread to copy your Torta recipe; happy to get your good news while I'm at it.

            1. re: Steady Habits

              Now you have peaked my curiosity, what torta?

              1. re: itryalot

                I posted the Torta recipe a few posts down. It's a really great cookie..very different.

              2. re: Steady Habits

                After it ripped my pastry bag, I tried a plastic baggie but it just pushed the piping tip right out. That's a great idea with scoring it, I will definitely try that next time. Let me know what you think of the Tortos!

                1. re: krisrishere

                  I certainly will.

                  It will be a while; I'll be making them either to take to a friend's on Christmas Eve or to serve here on Christmas Day. Or maybe both. And maybe I'll sneak a few to test them beforehand. :-)

                  So...does that almond cookie dough spread a lot or not?

                  1. re: Steady Habits

                    Great! The almond cookies puff more than spread because of the egg whites in them. I made them on Tuesday and believe it or not, they were 10x better yesterday because they were able to crisp up in the tupperware.

                    I'm also trying to figure out the best way to get the almond paste. At my local baking store it's $11 for a pound and most recipes call for 8oz.. If I keep making these, I might splurge and get the 7lb-er at $65. I've seen recipes for the paste, but many say it's not as good as what you can buy. Decisions, decisions! :)

                    1. re: krisrishere

                      Here is a link to my son's blog - he made is own almond paste last summer and it was very good:


                2. re: Steady Habits

                  steady habits

                  great tips thanks for your help :)

                3. re: krisrishere

                  I tried this recipe. It was delicious and voted the best of the best at our Christmas Eve table. I was very surprised however, as it did not have the consistency you describe. The dough was very loose and would not hold its shape when I used the cookie press. So I wonder if something was not right in the list of ingredients? Only 1/4th cup of flour, right? I don't understand how you ended up with a very stiff dough with this recipe for Cherry Rosettes. What might I have missed? Any thoughts? Happy holidays.

                  1. re: Reginas

                    Hmm, that's interesting. I made 3 different batches this past week and they all had the same consistency: firm. I ended up scooping them into mini ice cream scoops to portion them out. That worked well. Maybe it was the weather?? I'm really not sure. As long as they tasted good right? :) I did one batch with the cherry and the other 2 batches with slivered almonds on top. SO good!

                  2. re: krisrishere

                    had that recipe is inviting.
                    now if only I can find my pastry bag. (?)

                4. Are they ricciarelli? It's a famous almond cookie from Siena in Tuscany. They don't put candied cherries on the top in Italy, but they probably do in the US. You can google ricciarelli and find some good recipes for them. I used to work at an Italian import food store and they would sell them around Xmas. Luved em!

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: esstrink

                    Those aren't it but they sound delicious! I think I'll try these too. We don't have one decent Italian Bakery around here, so my goal is to make a plate of yummy Italian Cookies...remind me of home! :) I already have the recipe for those colorful layered cookies and I always use my grandmothers Torto recipe, so I'm on my way to a nice plate!

                    1. re: krisrishere

                      The colorful layered cookies you are referring to; are they pink and green with a thin layer of jam between the layers? And then the 4 or 5 layered cookie log covered in chocolate and then sliced to reveal the pretty pink and green layers? If so, I would love to have this recipe. My husband's mother is Italian. When we got married almost 19 years ago there was a wonderful Italian bakery that made our Cannolli Wedding Cake. They also made the best Italian cookies. My husband and I live in another city from his parents but they would always bring us a gift of an assortment of these cookies when they came to visit. The original owners of the bakery retired and the bakery has sold several times over the years and it no longer resembles the wonderful bakery it once was. So I no longer have a way of enjoying these cookies except to make them myself. I would love to have your recipe.

                      1. re: customsew

                        Re: pink and green layered cookies - I don't know how this recipe compares to the one that krisrishere uses, but here's a recipe link. I baked them a little less time and used semisweet chocolate mixed with butter for the chocolate topping instead of the unsweetened chocolate + butter + powdered sugar glaze in this recipe. I'm baking them again this year.

                        1. re: cheesepowder

                          This looks a lot like the cookie I am looking for. I will give it a try and see if it tastes like what we used to get from our little bakery. Thanks for sending the link.

                          1. re: customsew

                            I actually use a recipe for Seven Layer Cookies that I found on here.

                            Seven Layer Cookies #72821
                            This recipe is posted by request and was found on the net-no name is attached.

                            8 eggs
                            1 lb butter, room temp
                            6 teaspoons almond extract
                            2 cups flour
                            2 cups sugar
                            1 tablespoon baking powder
                            red, yellow and green food coloring
                            2 lbs dark chocolate, divided
                            1 (18 ounces) jar apricot preserves or seedless raspberry jam (or 1 smaller jar of each)
                            Pam cooking spray
                            1 (6 ounces) jar chocolate sprinkles

                            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                            In a large bowl beat eggs.
                            Beat in the butter, almond extract, and flour.
                            Mix in the sugar and baking powder.
                            Divide into 3 bowls.
                            In one bowl add the red food coloring.
                            In one bowl add the yellow food coloring In the last bowl add the green food coloring.
                            Spray a 12x18 inch pan with pam-bottom and sides.
                            Spread red mixture in pan first.
                            Bake for 10 minutes or until done.
                            To remove from pan place parchment paper on top and flip onto a hard surface.
                            Spread with half the preserves.
                            Repeat baking process with yellow batter.
                            Flip onto red jam layer.
                            Repeat with jam on yellow layer.
                            Repeat baking process with green batter.
                            Place green layer on top.
                            Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler.
                            Spread a even thick layer on top.
                            Place in fridge to harden-this shouldnt take more than 15-20 minutes tops.
                            Once hard remove and flip onto a hard surface and spread remaining chocolate on top and sides of product.
                            Cover top with sprinkles.
                            Place in Fridge until hard.
                            With a hot knife cut into small cubes and serve.

                        2. re: krisrishere

                          What's a Torto?

                          Also, do you and others here make Anginetti? That is the *one* Italian cookie I learned how to make (sort of, LOL), to have something for my inlaws on the cookie plate. I really should call mine "semi-Anginetti". They taste like an Anginette, but, uh, their looks...not so authentic. Kind of blobby and messy, compared to my SILs' and those of the Italian bakeries around here. :-D

                          1. re: Steady Habits

                            A torto is a small, round, chocolate cookie with icing that's flavored with cinnamon and cloves. It is outstanding..really different. Here's my grandmothers recipe:

                            Torto Italian Cookies

                            5 cups flour
                            8 heaping tablespoons of dark cocoa powder
                            4 tsp baking powder
                            1 tsp "and a little extra" cinnamon
                            1 tsp "and a little extra" ground clove
                            1/4 tsp salt
                            2 1/4 cup sugar
                            1 cup chopped walnuts
                            4 eggs
                            2 tsp vanilla
                            2 1/2 sticks melted butter
                            1/4 vegetable oil

                            *There are no instructions for actually making them so I just use common sense*
                            Combine dry ingredients (all but sugar). Cream butter and oil with the sugar. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time until just mixed. Slowly add in dry ingredients, dough will be super thick. Roll into heaping tablespoon-sized balls. Bake 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Once cool, drizzle with frosting.


                            1/2 stick melted butter
                            1 heaping tbsp cocoa
                            1 tsp vanilla
                            1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners sugar.

                            Mix until combine. * I found that this is a little too thick. More butter might be needed to make it able to pour out onto the cookies.

                            1. re: krisrishere

                              OMG. If it's got chocolate, cinnamon AND frosting--especially frosting--I'm there!

                              My chocolate-cookie repertoire is, um, pitiful. Every time I need to add a chocolate item, all I can think to do is brownies. Now, brownies are great, and I've done a lot of versions of them, but it's nice to have a recipe for a good chocolate cookie that someone has already test-driven. :-) And...if it's will make my husband and MIL really, really happy, LOL.

                              Thank you for posting that. I'm going to try them. Family recipes are really special, I know, and I appreciate your sharing it.

                              1. re: Steady Habits

                                They are really terrific cookies. You either love 'em or hate 'em because of the cinnamon and cloves in it. It's a Christmas tradition to have both Torto's and Pizzelle's on the dessert table.

                                As you could probably tell by the recipe, my grandmother probably just wrote it down in hello Nammy, no directions?!?! It took me forever to copy it because of her little handwriting, but it adds to the nostalgia of making her recipes. I'm proud to share it!

                                Oh, by the way..they freeze great too. Just make them into balls on a sheetpan and freeze, then put them in a plastic bag. It takes a few extra minutes to bake but they're still fantastic.

                                1. re: Steady Habits

                                  Steady, did you end up making these? :)

                                2. re: krisrishere

                                  I'm interested in making these this holiday season but was wondering what the measurement was for the vegetable oil. Thanks!

                                    1. re: krisrishere

                                      thanks a lot! can't wait to try them!

                                3. re: Steady Habits

                                  I think what you are referring to are Engenetta. They are hard cookies -- very crumbly -- with a glaze on top with little candy dots sprinkled on. They were my mother's favorite, and I haven't made them in years, though I did find a version in a bakery on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. It is an unusual cookie recipe because it contains so much baking powder and you actually have to knead the dough. The cookie is somewhat hard but also crumbly. You could make any shape you want with it. Here is the recipe I got many years ago from one of my mother's ancient cousins:


                                  4 cups flour
                                  1/4 lb. butter
                                  6 tsp of baking powder
                                  orange or anise flavor
                                  1 cup of sugar.

                                  Mix sugar & eggs. Cream in melted butter. Add flour and balance of ingredients. Knead until dough is pliable. Roll into ropes and make ropes into crossed circles. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly browned. Ice with a mixture of confectioner's sugar and wither lemon or orange juice. Sprinkle with colored dots.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    The texture of the cookies you're describing sound like nut drops. They are in the Italian Baker by Carol Field. They are a macaroon-like cookie made of chopped nuts (hazelnuts or almonds), sugar and egg whites. What makes them different than regular macaroons is that the batter is cooked on top of the stove much the way puff dough is cooked, until the batter gets a bit crumbly and pulls away from the side of the pan. Then it's cooled off and baked.

                                    I'm not at home so I can't supply the Italian name or the exact recipe. They are incredible; I make them every Christmas as part of my Christmas cookies. Maybe someone who has access to this cookbook can provide the missing information.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Hi, roxlet. I have a feeling this is one of those items in Italian cuisine that now has many variations here in the States, reflecting perhaps the original regional differences in Italy and now layered with regional differences here.

                                      I don't know how, but for a person who had never even heard of this cookie five years ago, I've somehow collected a bunch of recipes for them, from inlaws, friends and those little community and fundraising cookbooks. I went to look at some of them after reading your post. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, Anginette seems to be the singular; Anginetti the plural (though I've also encountered, "Angionette". It sounds like that could be the anglicization of "engenetta", doesn't it? Some recipes are flavored with anise, but, many, particularly from Rhode Island, use lemon, instead. (And I've got four recipes--count 'em, four--that combine orange and lemon extracts or juice.) Also, interestingly, some of these recipes I have do call for kneading, like your recipe; some call for shaping them into balls, like tea cakes, and in a couple, they are simple drop cookies.

                                      It would be interesting to trace the original sources for the recipes back and see what region they came from. I'm thinking the lemon-only version may have its roots in Sicily, based on the importance of the lemon there. Do you know what region your mother's cousin's family came from?

                                      1. re: Steady Habits

                                        This recipe was definitely from my mother's side, and here grandparents were from Salerno, near Naples. My father's side was from Sicily, but I got my recipes for struffoli (called pignolata by the Sicilian side) and casadeti (like a fried canoli ravioli) from them. They didn't make engenetta as I recall. Do you have the book "They called it Macaroni"? It is a book that is specific to Italian-American cooking, and I will check it for a recipe later.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          ...I'm sorry, but did you just say "Fried Cannoli Ravioli"? I think I just died and went to heaven.

                                          1. re: krisrishere

                                            Yes, casadeti (sometimes casateddi in dialect) seems to be a little-known Sicilian pastry. I believe that there is a recipe for it in Mary Taylor Simetti's great book on Sicilian food called On Persephone's Island. The recipe I make is from my father, who learned it from his Sicilian-born mother. It was very strange when we went to Italy that it was a pastry that was only available in certain parts of the island. Even more interesting is the fact that I met cousins there whose grandmother was the sister of my grandmother and they had never heard of them! Anyway, it is a very short pastry made with lard that is rolled out and filled -- as you would a ravioli -- with a canoli-like mixture. The ricotta you make this with needs to be very dry (my recipe actually calls for "ricatone," which I have never seen anywhere), and then, like making canoli cream, it is mixed with sugar and mini chocolate chips. The original recipe also called for glaced fruit, which I never use because I don't care for it. Then the ravioli are fried, drained and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Pure bliss and about a billion calories each!

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              Would you be willing to share that sinful recipe with us?

                                              1. re: krisrishere

                                                kris, did you note my post upthread about carol field's nut drops? I attached it to roxlet's post by accident but it was meant as a reply to your OP. I truly think that is what you are looking for.

                                                1. re: essvee

                                                  You're correct in the fact that the cookies are macaroon-esque, but I'm not quite sure about the chopped nuts. If this recipe results in a smooth batter, than yes it sounds like it could be the one, but if the nuts are just simply chopped and there's some texture to the cookie, then it's not what I'm looking for. They do sound great though. Are you able to provide a recipe at some point?

                                                2. re: krisrishere

                                                  Here is the recipe:


                                                  2 lbs flour
                                                  1 tbs sugar
                                                  1 egg
                                                  1/2 cup water

                                                  Cut the lard into the flour. Add the egg/water mixture. You may have to add additional water so that the dough is pliable. (Do not make the dough too dry otherwise it will tear when you roll it!) Let rest for 2 hours.

                                                  2 lbs ricotoni (or ricotta that has been drained)
                                                  11/2 cups sugar
                                                  mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
                                                  (glaced fruit if desired)
                                                  Mix together.

                                                  Roll out the dough to the medium thickness of pie dough. (I have sometimes used a pasta machine for this, but my father always did it by hand). Cut large circles, fill with a small amount of filling (you do not want them over-filled or the filling will leak out when they are fried), fold to make half-moons, and seal well with water and a fork or crimper. Fry, a few at a time, in about 3 inches of oil. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle immediately with cinnamon sugar.

                                                  These may be eaten warm or at room temperature. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature or warm in a low oven before eating.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    How much lard do you use? Sounds fantastic!

                                                    1. re: krisrishere

                                                      Oops! 10 ounces of leaf lard. What an omission! Also, make sure that you take the dough out of the refrigerator after you've let it rest, and allow it to come to room temperature. Use only a bit of dough at a time, and keep the rest covered while you work.

                                                      This will teach me not to cook and type recipes at the same time!

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        roxlet, what is leaf lard? (Can you tell I'm not a master baker?)

                                                        1. re: Steady Habits

                                                          Leaf lard is the purest lard. I'm not sure that you can get it commercially, but I believe there are web sites where you can buy it and have it shipped (note to self, buy it and have it shipped!). I have made do with the standard Armour lard, and it is fine, but just not as good.

                                                          Here is the Wikipedia definition, which I believe is correct:

                                                          Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue. The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is treasured for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts.