The delightful almond-laced cookies have an early history, as they were supposedly first made during the Middle Ages. Their name comes from the Italian word ‘amaro’, which means bitter, in reference to the strong flavor of bitter almonds or apricot kernels, which are used in the recipe, together with egg whites and sugar by tradition. They are either made parched and crunchy, or soft and rubbery—secchi or morbidi, respectively.
Over the course of time, they have become pervasive in Italy, and each region has its own variety of the recipe, incorporating changed proportions of the basic ingredients or varied stiffness of egg whites, temperatures, and times of baking, or extra ingredients such as flour, egg yolks, or leavening agents.
Irrespective of the kind, these cookies are an excellent after-meal snack that is ideal with the sweet, almond-flavoured liquor called Amaretto di Saronno. They are also excellent with a cup of coffee or Italian espresso.
Lazzaroni family is frequently credited for the original Amaretti cookies. Since 1718, the Lazzaroni family has manufactured Amaretti cookies in Saronno, Italy from their family recipe. Their legendary Amaretti cookies are crafted from a combination of sugar, apricot kernels, and egg whites. The outcome of Lazzaroni's traditional process is crisp, airy cookies with a characteristic bittersweet flavour. Ideal with espresso, dessert wine, and after-dinner liquors.
TYPES OF AMARETTI COOKIES:
Amaretti di Saronno
It is said that these crispy bittersweet cookies were conceived some three centuries ago when the Cardinal of Milan came to the town of Saronno in Italy. Young lovers, Giuseppe and Osolina, offered him sweets prepared from a combination of sugar, apricot kernels and egg whites, wrapped in pairs, which signified their love. The Cardinal was absolutely delighted with the gift, and in return, he passed his blessings to the couple, who later got married and lived happily ever after.
The Sicilian version of Amaretti is prepared with egg whites, sugar, and both bitter and sweet almonds, if possible, the eminent ones grown in the province of Syracuse, in south-eastern Sicily, around the cities of Avola, Noto, Rosolini, and Canicattini Bagni.
Amaretti di Sasselo
The crunchy adaptation of this cookie is world-renowned, but the minor town of Sassello in Liguria is famous for its round-shaped, very soft and rubbery Amaretti, with an almost marzipan-like interior, because of the very high quantity of almonds in the dough.
They are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. As the baking time and temperature are very significant aspects for the overall success of the recipe, they are flawlessly baked when they reach the typical golden color of the crust.
Amaretti di Gallarate
Lombardy's version, Amaretti di Gallarate, are prepared with sugar, egg whites, and both sweet and bitter almonds. They are really soft, unevenly shaped, and sifted with ground sugar before presenting.
Formulated with whole eggs, flour and only the peeled almonds, these cookies are easy to prepare. They are soft and chewy, with a sharp almond flavor. They do not comprise extra sugars, which is a better way to satisfy one's sweet tooth.
They are soft, oval-shaped version from Guarcino, prepared with almonds, both sweet and bitter ones, fresh egg whites, ground sugar, and a pinch of salt, positioned on wafer paper discs prior to baking.
Mombaruzzo, a minor town near Asti in Piedmont region is famous for their version – crusty Amaretti di Mombaruzzo, prepared with sugar, egg whites, sweet almonds, and finely crushed apricot kernels.
Amaretti di Carmignano
The Tuscany Amaretti is prepared with egg whites, sugar, and both sweet and bitter almonds. They are soft, unevenly shaped, and tinier than other variants, having a characteristic amber color and sharp almond aroma.
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Source(s)- TasteAtlas, ditalia