Amaretti del Sassello

Amaretti del Sassello The amaretto (almond-flavored cookies) is a pastry biscuit popular in all regions of Italy.
Created probably in the Middle Ages, possibly in Sicily under the Arabic period, towards the end of the 13th century had become popular in Arab countries, and from Sicily passed in the culinary traditions of the Normans, Spanish, French. Pilgrims and monasteries contributed to the spread of these pastries, which had the advantage of being non-perishable. In addition to the Italian variety, there is a tradition in France, especially in Lorraine, and in the Basque region.
The amaretti are made with almond paste (25% usually bitter almonds), sugar, egg whites, and apricot seeds. In Italy there are two basic versions, both with a rounded shape, like a small cap, and a cracked surface:
  • the "Saronno", crunchy and crumbly;
  • the "Sassello", softer and more similar to marzipan.

Inside the Recipe

The video below offers a demonstration of the Sassello amaretto (recipe 2). The baking time suggested may be a bit too long, and quantities are not given, so these two classic recipes may help:
  • "Sassello recipe 1:" sweet almonds 125 grams, bitter almonds 50 gr, 225 gr sugar, powdered sugar as required, 2 egg whites.
    Let rest for 30 minutes, then cook 20-25 minutes at 160 degrees centigrade. Check the oven (each oven is different!) for when they are starting to get brown, to take them out!
  • "Sassello recipe 2:" sweet almonds 250 grams, bitter almonds 250 gr, 500 gr sugar, 5 egg whites, toasted hazelnuts 80 gr, flour 2 spoonfuls, powdered sugar 80 gr.
    Let rest for 60 minutes, then cook 20-25 minutes at 160 degrees centigrade.

A small trick to keep the amaretti soft is to put also a container with water into the oven, and after they are baked, to place them in a close container so they will not lose their humidity. Also, it is better not to put the almonds in a mixer, but to crush them with some kind of mechanic (not electric) mincer.
The video is no more available, the transcript is here for reference.
La ricetta che andremo a presentare sono gli amaretti di Sassello. Gli ingredienti sono: mandorle amare, mandorle dolci, nocciole tostate, zucchero, zucchero a velo, farina, e bianchi d'uovo.
The recipe that we are going to show are Amaretti of Sassello. The ingredients are: bitter almonds, sweet almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, powdered sugar, flour, and egg whites.
Allora, iniziamo col mettere nel nostro mortaio le nocciole tostate, le mandorle dolci, le mandorle amare e lo zucchero, che andremo poi a pestare.
So, let's start by putting into our mortar toasted hazelnuts, sweet almonds, bitter almonds and sugar, that we'll start to pound.
Ora andremo a montare i bianchi d'uovo a neve.
Now we're going to whip the egg whites until stiff like snow.
Andremo ad aggiungere al nostro impasto.
We are going to add them to our mix.
Allora, in questo caso l'impasto è abbastanza morbido; per addensarlo un pochettino, ma non troppo - deve risultare giustamente morbido ma non troppo denso, andremo ad aggiungere la farina.
Well, in this case the dough is rather soft; to thicken it a little bit, but not too much - it must be rightly soft but not too thick, we are going to add flour.
Mescoliamo! Una volta fatto questo lavoro, metteremo il nostro impasto a riposare per qualche ora in frigorifero.
Let's mix! Once you have done this operation, we will put our dough to rest for a few hours in the fridge.
Poi un foglio di carta velina - carta da forno - l'andremo a spolverare col nostro zucchero a velo, di modo che, quando andiamo a posizionare gli amaretti, e li metteremo nel forno, non si attaccano.
Then a sheet of tissue paper - parchment paper - we're going to sprinkle it with our powdered sugar, so that when we go to place the amaretti, and put them in the oven, they will not not stick.
Tiriamo fuori dal frigo il nostro impasto; incominciamo a lavorarlo, formeremo delle palline. Ne prendiamo un poco, ci impolveriamo un po' la mano con lo zucchero a velo.
Let's pull our dough out of the fridge; let's begin to work it, we will form it into small balls. We take a little, then we powder our hand a little with icing sugar.
E adesso non resta che infornare i nostri amaretti a forno di... 120 gradi, per circa tre ore.
And now you just have to bake our macaroons in oven... 120 degrees for about three hours.
Come iniziano a dorarsi, alziamo leggermente il forno a 150, per giusto dieci minuti circa.
As they start to brown, let's slightly raise the oven to 150, for just ten minutes.
Allora, le tre ore di cottura sono passate, adesso andiamo a prendere i nostri amaretti.
Then, the three hours of baking have gone, now let's go to take our amaretti.
Li abbiamo posizionati su un'alzatina, e li possiamo servire con un vino dolce, un passito.
We have them placed on a raised dish, and we can serve them with a sweet wine, a "passito".