Ricciarelli (Sienese Almond Cookies)

Makes 2 dozen cookies


For Cookies

  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ⅛ tsp almond extract

For Baking

  • ½ cup powdered sugar for dusting
  • 24 blanched almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a food processor, place the almonds, ¾ cup of granulated sugar and flour; process to a fine powder. Add the baking powder and orange zest. Pulse to blend well
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, beating until glossy peaks form. Add the almond extract
  4. Remove the almond mixture from the food processor and place in large bowl. Stir one-third of the egg white mixture into the almond mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg white mixture with a rubber spatula
  5. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter 2" apart onto the prepared pan and dust liberally with the powdered sugar. Place a whole blanched almond in the center of each cookie
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks