Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TWD ~ BWJ Nick Malgieris' Amaretti


Nick Malgieris’ Amaretti perfection...

Here I am, two weeks in a row, baking and posting with TWD! I’m really a TWD dropout, but I rekindled my baking passion with the start of Baking Chez Moi. I am determined to bake at least once monthly, hopefully twice!
While posting my link last week, on the Tuesdays’ site, I noticed that the BWJ group was going to be baking Amaretti, by Nick Malgieri!  Nick is one of my all time favorite bakers! I own almost every one of his books. I find his way of explaining a recipe to be exceptional! Even my “go to” piecrust comes from Nick.  There was no way I would miss this opportunity, to bake along with Tuesdays and Nick Malgieri!

Loved the way the tops crackled
I bake Amaretti every Christmas! Several years ago, an Italian friend gave me the recipe I use. They were delicious!  Still, I had to give Nicks a chance.  Both recipes consist of only three basic ingredients…almond paste, sugar, and egg whites. Comparing the two recipes, I found mine was a doubled version of his recipe. The preparation was the only difference. In my friends’ version, the egg whites are beaten until stiff, and then folded into the almond paste-sugar mixture. The mixture gets placed in the fridge overnight. In Nicks’ recipe the almond paste and sugar get mixed together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until the almond paste and sugar are a fine crumb. Then the egg whites get mixed in.




These were amazing
Comparison done! Both recipes produce a wonderful cookie! I liked that with Nicks’ recipe you don’t have to refrigerate, and his cookie seemed to get a bit crisper on the outside. 
Since I adore anything with almond paste, these are definitely one of my favorite Christmas cookies! When I make them at Christmas...I always dip the tops into the pine nuts. I don’t pipe the batter…but from now on I will! I thought the piping made a more uniform cookie. And I thought the towel trick to dampen the tops of the cookies, was an excellent suggestion (be sure to watch the video with Nick and Julia baking together). I think that’s what made Nicks' Amaretti crackle and crisp up! 
These Amaretti were exceptional! Thank you Nick for Amaretti perfection! Happy Tuesdays everyone! 

To see what the other bakers at TWD thought of these Amaretti check them out here
If you’d like to watch Julia baking these Amaretti with Nick Malgieri, you can find the video here.


My piping skills could use some improvement…but they were quite easy to pipe
Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside…just perfect!
I made some with pine nuts (pignoli)
Incredibly flavorful!



Nick Malgieris' Amaretti


One 8-oz.can almond paste (do not use almond paste from tube---too much sugar)
3/4 C. sugar
2 large egg whites, beaten just to break up
1/4 lb. pine nuts (optional) 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cut almond paste into 1/2 inch cubes and toss into bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment or use hand-held mixer. Add half the sugar and mix on low speed until the paste is broken into small crumbs. Add the rest of sugar and mix until the crumbs are very fine, about 2 minutes. Add egg whites in 3 to 4 additions, scraping down the bowl when mixture starts to stick to the bottom and beating until the batter is free of lumps. You don't want to beat a lot of air into this mixture, because it will cause the amaretti to rise in the oven and then fall--what you want is a nice, even puff that persists.

Pipe cookies in mounds on the lined baking sheets with a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4 inch plain tip. Each cookies should be about 1-1/4 inch in diameter and about 1/2inch high. Leave about 1-1/2 inches between cookies. Alternatively you can use a small scoop to form the cookies, using about 1 TBS. batter for each.

Just before baking, wet a cotton or linen kitchen towel(not terry cloth) and gently squeeze out excess water. Don't wring cloth--you want it to be wet. Fold the towel into a strip 2 inches wide and, holding one end ot the towel in each hand and letting the center droop, gently dab the tops of the cookies with the center of the cloth. Use an up-and-down motion to pat the cookies with the towel several times, until their tops are smooth, slightly flattened and glistening. (Wetting the tops will remove the piping ridges and will help produce the crinkly top that is typical of these cookies.) If you are using pine nuts, press them gently onto the amaretti.

Bake on center rack until they are well risen, lightly colored and covered with fine cracks, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer cookies, parchment paper and all, to racks and cool completely.

Gently peel the amaretti off the paper. If any of the cookies stick, just lift the paper, brush the underside with a little hot water, and give it a few seconds to seep ink then peel off the cookie.

Kept in an airtight tin or plastic container, amaretti will remain moist and chewy for a few days, than become dry and crisp.
Yields bout 3 dozen cookies.

22 comments:

  1. Nick is one of my favorites too-I have worn out my copy of How to Bake!

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  2. oh, those do look perfect--love that last photo! glad to hear that this recipe compares well to your other favorite.

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  3. yours are perfectly crinkly! Nice that you found a good recipe for Christmas.

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  4. Love your cookies, Kathy. They look soo delicious. I need to make them this Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I am guessing you found the can of almond paste...I could only find the tube and my cookies are much flatter than yours. Yours look great.

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  6. What great cookies! They look delicious and a couple with my coffee now would be perfect! I like your blog too. Thanks for the recipe!

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  7. Just lovely Kathy...and love youir blue plate : adorable!
    xo

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  8. Good grief - your photos are gorgeous! Nice to hear the recipe comparison, too.

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  9. Your amaretti turned out perfect. I didn't get the crackle like yours, congratulations, great job. I bet they are delicious too.

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  10. Yours look perfect- I was wondering what they SHOULD look like and here it is!

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  11. These amaretti look bakery-perfect, Kathy.

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  12. I'm going to the store today to find almond paste! I NEED to try these!

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  13. These cookies look perfect, so soft and cloud-like inside :D
    And a beautiful colour too!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  14. Gosh, I'm drooling at your food pix! These make great X'mas gifts too! xoxo

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  15. Your amaretti looks wonderful. I've never baked amaretti, but if it's from both Nick and Dorie, how could I say no?

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  16. Hi Kathy!
    Oh I love Amaretti. We always had them at Christmas too and garnished with Pignoli was my very best favorite. Isn't it funny how some recipes just stay true to their ingredients no matter how they are prepared or assembled.

    I'd love just one of your cookies with a hot cup of expresso. Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy...

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  17. Kathy, I just love Nick Malgieri's recipes, and Amaretti homemade cookies are the BEST! You've made these cookies so perfect, and amazingly delicious...I can totally smell the aroma right through the screen!
    Thanks for sharing...since I don't have this recipe, or his book! xoxo

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  18. Kathy, your amaretti are picture perfect! Just the way they should be. I made mine way too large, but enjoyed them anyway. They are tasty!

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  19. Wow, Kathy. Those look so puffy and perfect. I am impressed! (I wouldn't mind a box of those showing up on my doorstep :-) )

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  20. Your cookies look perfect! I've made amaretti so many times and I've never put pine nuts on top. I may have to sneak some of those in this holiday season and see if my husband protests.

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  21. These have been a favorite of mine for years! I am so glad I have this recipe and can't wait to watch the video. Definitely trying them! David

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  22. Finally one I wouldn't eat (can you believe it?)--not an almond flavor lover. But they look good.

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