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ISO N. Italian soft almond paste confection or cookie recipe

Milan, 2007. My husband and I visit the Christmas market in town and he discovers a booth selling almond paste cookies--not as sweet as marzipan--1-inch ovals, barely colored, soft, white, and tasting of almonds...unless they were the variety flavored with orange, or pistachio, or lemon, etc. For the past nine years, every Holiday, this is all he can think about.
I have looked everywhere for this recipe to no avail. The closest I've come are Sienese Riccarelli...but they're not quite it.
Anyone's Nonna have a recipe like this?

asked by Windischgirl 3 months ago
8 answers 239 views
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Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

2 reactions -
These sound wonderful and I want the recipe!
Please tell us besides the Siena Ricciarelli what have you looked at so we don't repeat in the answers...

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added 3 months ago

I've made Brutti è Buoni which are tasty but have too many add ins; the texture I'm looking for is smooth, like a cross between shortbread and marzipan. Carol Field's recipe for riccarelli was a bit too much on the cookie end of the spectrum. Marcella shuns sweets, and The Silver Spoon limits itself to the spear-shaped biscotti we think of when we Americans hear the word. I've looked in cookbook after cookbook featuring Italian foods and few have recipes for cookies; those that do focus on crisp amaretti.

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Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added 3 months ago

I’ve posted two recipes below. Both are among my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, but the Sicilian recipe may be what you are looking for. I don’t think it is too sweet, but you could reduce the amount of sugar if you like. And if decent pine nuts are too expensive or hard to find, you could use another nut on top.

The second recipe is German (as far as I know) and is also very good and makes an annual appearance on my Christmas cookie tray. It calls for three egg yolks--which is particularly useful because I make another recipe that calls for three egg whites--so the almond cookies are a perfect complement.
Sicilian pine nut cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups pine nuts
1 cup confectioners' sugar (4.4 oz.)
1/4 cup almond paste (2.5 oz.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Process 3/4 cup pine nuts, the sugar, almond paste, and vanilla in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add egg; pulse to combine. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process just until dough comes together.
Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining 11/4 cups pine nuts, gently pressing to coat. Space 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until cookies begin to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

Marzipan macaroons

300 g. marzipan
3 egg yolks
150 g. sugar (I use somewhat less)
grated rind of an organic lemon
½ t. cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of allspice

small, round Oblaten (these are similar to communion wafers and come in graduated sizes. I like the smaller ones better because then you can sample different kinds of cookies!! If you can’t find Oblaten, line the cookie sheet with parchment paper

candied cherries or other candied fruit for garnishing

Mix together the marzipan, egg yolk, sugar, lemon peel and spices. Put the dough in a bag with a star-tip and squeeze onto the Oblaten. (I usually use a spoon and settle for a less-fancy form). Garnish each cookie with a halved candy cherry. Set the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

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added 3 months ago

Margie, these both sound wonderful! How long do the cookies keep? I typically freeze my cookies after baking to keep them fresh as I'm mailing them all over to friends and family....and I'll be baking over Thanksgiving weekend.
I also have several classic German baking books that offer recipes that will keep for months at room temperature (pfeffnuss for one), so that's an option. The second recipe seems similar to one in Swiss Baking, and they recommended not freezing macaroon-type cookies. (But You have given me the impetus to try that type of recipe now :-)...maybe I'll make them last-minute and just save them all for hubby...)

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Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added 3 months ago

The German recipe keeps for quite a while. I make them early in my baking marathon, just after Thanksgiving, because that’s when I make the Lebkuchen, which call for egg whites. They are fine even at New Years. The Sicilian recipe keeps well too, although those I usually make a week or two before Christmas. But if you make them after Thanksgiving and mail them, who’s to say the recipient won’t dig in right away??

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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 3 months ago

Maedl, thank you! Have copied and pasted both to new files for testing in the near future. ;o)

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HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

One thing to consider is parts of Northern Italy is German-speaking, so your almond pastry might very well be German in origins. I would check out Maedl's recipes and look in German recipes. I think Luisa Weiss has a new German baking cookbook out.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added 3 months ago

Milan isn't in the Sudtirol/Alto Adige, which was the Austrian region before WWI--and I can't think of an Austrian or German cookie that is like the description. Sicily produces almonds, and the Sicilian almond cookies enjoy wide popularity.

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