Amaretti cookies are essentially Italy’s answer to macarons. Their name is derived from the diminutive form of “amaro” (bitter), because they’re traditionally flavoured with bitter almonds (and currently with almond extract). Unlike macarons, which are usually sandwiched, amaretti are mostly served solo.
They’re also baked to a crunchier texture, and can be crumbled and used as a component in other dishes. I’ve seen recipes for squash ravioli and gnocchi that use amaretti as a binder in place of breadcrumbs, or to soak up liquid in the bottom of peach pies. There’s also a common dessert that involves peach halves stuffed with a mixture of amaretti crumbs, egg yolks, sugar and butter, then baked.
I made the amaretti pictured above using the recipe in A16 Food + Wine. I was surprised that it called for raw, not blanched, almonds, but the skins give the cookies a rustic, speckled appearance. I’ve been munching on a few of them, but I’ve got some other plans for them soon.