Every year, I set out on a Christmas cookie baking adventure. I pick a fun assortment of recipes (some traditional, some that just look exciting to try) and curate a cookie box to gift to coworkers and friends. This year, I decided to make five types of cookies, and I even let my boyfriend, Chris, pick one of the five cookies that we would make. This is the cookie that he picked, and I’ll be honest, it got absolute rave reviews from everyone at the office. I would say that this cookie was consistently rated as the favorite from the whole box, which was a little surprising, but also fun. Maybe I should let Chris pick more cookies next year, he clearly has amazing taste!
Ricciarelli are Italian cookies, flavored with almond extract and orange zest that give these cookies a delicately festive flavor. These cookies are a meringue base and use almond flour and powdered sugar instead of flour, which makes these cookies fully gluten-free. I liked that these start by whipping up egg whites into a fluffy meringue and folding in the almond flour and sugar, it’s a nice change of pace from the butter and sugar start of traditional cookie recipes. After mixing and creating the dough, the cookies are rolled into little logs and rolled in powdered sugar, then allowed to dry on a baking sheet for at least an hour before cooking. The cookies are then cracked by gently squeezing the logs, which allow for a nice, crackled shell to appear after baking. The results are beautiful, delicately flavored cookies with a crackled coating, revealing a pale orange interior. The almond flour and powdered sugar create a marzipan-like flavor and texture in the final cookie, highlighted by beautiful citrus notes from the orange zest and lemon juice. This cookie is well worth the effort and has a big flavor pay-off, and they look so beautiful in cookie boxes.
The recipe that I made was from the blog Pinch Me I’m Eating. I’ll link this recipe here and below so you can make it as well! I’m not going to re-post the whole recipe here on my blog because it’s not an original recipe that I developed, but happy to share the links to the original source so you can make it as well!
I followed the recipe exactly, although I doubled my batch and it worked out just fine. I did change the order of addition slightly, by adding the flavorings (orange zest, almond and vanilla extract) directly to the egg whites before the addition of the almond flour and powdered sugar. That way, everything was well incorporated and flavored evenly throughout before the dough becomes heavy and sticky with the almond flour addition.