Amaretti

Amaretti

So, did you miss me? :) Thanks for all the messages folks! The fingers are healing slowly but nicely. I regained the use of my 3rd and 4th fingers yesterday and they are performing quite well (other than a little numbness in the fingertips). The thumb and index finger are still bandaged, but they should be set free by the end of the week at the latest!

I have to admit that the main reason that I’m happy to have (most) of my left hand back is that I can now manage things! I can use a knife to cut the peel off an orange, it no longer takes me 5 minutes to put on a bra (goodbye saggy boobtown!) and -gasp- I can once again tie my own laces on my sneakers! Mind you, I’m still having to submerge my face IN a sink full of water in order to wash it, but thems the breaks hey?

I’ve never been the kind of person who copes well with being incapacitated. When I’m down with a cold or flu, I usually see it as an excuse to get the oven going and bake mountains of cookies or pots of soup, happily humming along till my body becomes so tired that I’m forced to pass out…not a bad thing, as I usually get a wonderful night’s sleep afterwards! However, the tiredness my right hand/arm started experiencing after the third day of having to pick up the slack didn’t go away with sleep, and since I was still alert and very much awake, I started to go a bit mental from sheer boredom. Mental enough to hop into the car and go for a quick drive to the video store to grab a few flicks to keep me and my brother occupied during our period of being house-bound!

(Note: for those who are curious as to how the whole hand-burning happened…its a long story! My brother had taken the dog out to the basketball courts of the local primary school on Saturday night to run around as he worked out, and we got a call from him 15 minutes later saying that he thought he had broken his leg! Cue a panicked mother, father and me driving there, my brother and his blood-covered leg loaded into the car and taken to the local emergency room and me and Mr Woofy rushing home. Ma called at a bit over midnight to tell us that the leg wasn’t broken, and that he’d gotten stitches and they were going to head home, though my brother didn’t fall asleep for a few hours after that due to the pain he was in.

Cue me on Sunday morning – I’d been kept busy for the past 2 days helping ma prepare for Chusok, so I took the opportunity of ma’s absence to whip out the cookbook and try a recipe that I’d been eyeing for awhile. So, there I was in the kitchen, quietly humming away as I cooked, trying to be quiet in order not to wake my brother who was asleep in the lounge room…I noticed that the grill over the gas burners wasn’t sitting straight so I used the tongs I had in my hand to try and straighten it, it tipped over and began to fall and instinctively I grabbed it, my only thought being that if it hit the ground, it would be loud and wake my brother.

And then I heard my fingers sizzle, so I dropped it and ran and stuck my hand inside the freezer. Not my cleverest moment…)

Amaretti

Aaaaanyway, what does that have to do with these little cookies? Well, to be honest – not much, except that they are made with nuts, and that this past week and a bit of handlessness drove me nutty.

Yeah, I know its a stretch, but I’m sticking with it!

When I saw the recipe for these amaretti on Mary’s food blog over at Alpineberry, I quickly raced off to the kitchen in order to give them a whirl. Whilst I’d never made them before, I was more than familiar with their deliciousness, and since I had all the ingredients I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to give them a try. The shape wasn’t quite what I was used to with amaretti, but I figured that this was just a presentation thing and hence was a tad surprised when I finished baking and picked up a cooled cookie to enjoy with my afternoon tea.

While these look quite elegant and refined in their simplicity, they weren’t quite what I expected in regards to texture. Amaretti (which apparently means ‘small bitter things’ in Italian), are Italian macaroons – they are meant to be crisp and crunchy on the outside, giving way to a soft, chewy centre (as does the English coconut macaroon and the French macaron). I followed all the instructions, but didn’t get the lightly crackling in Mary’s cookies, and the exterior of these cookies was much more dense than the light crispness that I was expecting. This is not to say they weren’t tasty – they were quite lovely, just unexpected.

If you’re looking for a recipe that gives you something closer to the amaretti typically given in restaurants then this isn’t a recipe that I’d recommend, but if you’re just looking for some cute, sweet little bites that are ridiculously easy to make and take next to no time, then these are definitely a go!

Amaretti

Amaretti
(From Alpineberry – adapted from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2)

100g ground almonds (almond meal)
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 egg white
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract

Preheat over to 180 degrees C.

Sift together almonds, sugar and flour in a bowl to combine. Then mix in egg white and both extracts until well combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a parchment line cookie sheet. Flatten the balls of dough slightly. (Note: I like my amaretti soft so I don’t flatten the balls of dough too much. If you want the cookies to be less soft, flatten the balls more.)

Bake at 180 degrees C for 13-14 minutes or until lightly golden.

P.S. I found that these improved with age, they tasted fabulous after being stored in an airtight container at room temp after a few days :)

[tags]amaretti, recipes, food blogs, almonds, desserts, cookies, macaroons, sweets[/tags]

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