Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Are in Love with Amaretti Cookies

My first introduction to opera came as a teenager when all things foreign appeared chic and romantic (especially if they were Italian). Even though I did not speak Italian, in my teenage angst, I could understand every poignant aria of La Bohème. I became obsessed with Italian Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Michelangelo, and Raphael and read Machiavelli’s The Prince in an attempt to seem more sophisticated and worldly. It was during that time that my grandparents brought the signature red tin of the quintessential Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno when they came to visit. Each delicate, almond-laced piece was individually wrapped in tissue; a treasure to be revered. 

So when the opportunity to review Italy’s popular opera-singing trio, Il Volo’s new release “We Are In Love,” I jumped at the chance! The group appeared on NBC’s Christmas Tree Lighting Live at Rockefeller Center on November 28th and sang “Jingle Bell Rock.” That same teenage feeling of erudition came over me as a listened to the dulcet melodies of teen tenors, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble. Their covers of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” and U2’s “Beautiful Day” are exceptional, but my favorite song on the album is “I Bring You To My Senses.” The CD also includes guest appearances by Placido Domingo and Eros Ramazzotti. This wonderfully soothing and comforting music will be the perfect addition to your holiday music collection.

Inspired by the threesome’s melodic tones, I endeavored to make amaretti cookies to achieve the whole Italian experience. I was thrilled to find almond flour at Trader Joe’s and decided it was destino

  • 2 ½ cups of almond flour (or 3 cups almonds), finely ground
  • 1 ¼ cup of baker's sugar (superfine sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 300°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine almond flour and sugar. Add the vanilla and almond extract and pulse for a few more seconds. Add the egg whites, one at a time, and continue to process until the dough is smooth.

Place teaspoons of the dough on the parchment paper and dust with sugar. A small ice cream/cookie scoop or melon baller works well for this task.  Bake cookies for 24-30 minutes or until golden brown. You can underbake them a bit if you prefer them to be chewy. If that's your preference, bake them for about 20-24 minutes.

Cool completely before serving. They will be slightly chewy at first, but they will be get crispier as a day or two goes by. You can wrap them in tissue paper for an authentic touch and store them  in a cool, dry place.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, we are disclosing that we received a complimentary copy of the CD from representatives of Passionate Digital in exchange for this post and giveaway. A favorable review was not required; the review of the product is based solely on our personal opinion and experience and may differ from those of our readers.

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