I have a friend, let’s call her Ms. G, who is in the habit of whipping up amazing and intricate dishes on a regular basis. I’m always excited to be invited round for dinner and luckily, she doesn’t live far and invitations are frequent. Ms. G is adept at homemade ice cream, paella, bread made from scratch, risottos…the list goes on. I’m amazed at her patience at skill and it’s serendipitous that she’s an expert in all those dishes I would never dare attempt.
In my own kitchen, my absolute favourite recipes are those that involve minimal effort but yield maximum results. This probably has as much to do with my lack of patience as it does pragmatism, but nothing gives me more pleasure than recipes that are zero fuss and yet somehow, absolutely stunning. It never continues to amaze me how many recipes pack a massive flavour punch with very few ingredients, very little effort and very little time.
Amaretti was one such happy surprise for me. I had always marvelled at their crisp outer shell and chewy centre, perfect with a ristretto or dunked in a cappuccino. Surely, I thought, they must be fiddly and time consuming to taste this good, something like macarons. And yet these little Italian biscuits were as forgettable as they were delicious; in fact it wasn’t until about a year ago that I looked online for a recipe. I ended up selling some to a cafe for a while but due to their understated appearance, that didn’t last long.
This is one of the easiest and fastest biscuit recipes you will ever make in your life- all you do is whisk a few ingredients together with a fork, roll the mix into balls and bake. Enjoy!
200g almond meal
¾ cup caster sugar
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon almond essence
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 175◦c. Line two biscuit trays with baking paper.
Beat sugar, almond essence and egg whites together with a fork until smooth. Stir in almond meal with fork.
With dampish hands, roll small amounts of the mixture into balls of 2-3 cm in diameter and place on trays. I usually fit about 11 per tray. Flatten them with your fingers and dust liberally with icing sugar.
Bake for around 12 minutes. They should not be brown, just starting to get a touch of colour on them. Cool for one hour before serving and/or storing in an airtight container.
Makes 25 amaretti, which will keep for up to 2 months. Makes a great Christmas gift!
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