What is a ricciarelli recipe (not to mention a ricciarelli recipe for the Passover / Pesach festival)? A bit of history: Ricciarelli are almond cookies that originate from Siena, Italy I.E. they are known as Sienese almond cookies. According to a local popular legend in Siena, it was Ricciardetto della Gherardesca from Siena who, on his return to his castle near Volterra, Italy from the Crusades in the Middle East, first introduced these little cakes in his land. Since he noted that their form resembled the curly shape of Middle Eastern slippers (similar to the Turkish Sultan's slippers), they were called "Ricciarelli" (from the word "arricciati", which means "curled" in Italian). There are many almond cookie recipes, but this recipe for almond cookies adds an extra twist in that they have an amaretto-like (almond-flavored liqueur-like) quality to them, and are excellent when accompanied by a delicious Tuscan Vin Santo (a type of Italian wine), although ricciarelli are excellent with all dessert wines. In addition, ricciarelli also has a spicy flavor, due to their Middle Eastern origins. The following ricciarelli recipe I.E. Sienese almond cookie recipe is ideal for the kids during the Passover / Pesach festival.

Ricciarelli cookies have a marzipan-like look to them, and so throughout history they have also been called "Sienese Marzipan", "Marzapanetti" or "Morselletti" prior to being known as "Ricciarelli". How is a ricciarelli recipe made? A ricciarelli recipe is made from a particular rough-grained marzipan paste that is specially mixed with candied fruits and vanilla then baked in an oven after the triangles (the Turkish slippers) have been joined to form the shape of small lozenges. Essentially, a ricciarelli recipe produces a special marzipan paste, sweetened with honey and sugar, and perfumed with candied orange peel and vanilla. Ricciarelli cookies, when absolutely fresh, have been known to be one of the most highly prized almond confections in the world.

Ricciarelli Recipe (Passover Almond Cookies Recipe; Italian-style amaretto-like cookies)

1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces (295.73 milliliters) blanched almonds, finely chopped
1/4 cup matzo cake meal
2 tablespoons non-dairy margarine
Confectioners' sugar that is kosher for Passover

Instructions for the Ricciarelli recipe (Passover Almond Cookies recipe; Italian-style amaretto-like cookies):

  1. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff and dry.
  2. Gradually add 1 cup sugar; beat to the consistency of marshmallow cream.
  3. Beat in orange rind, both extracts and almonds, mixing until you have a very stiff paste.
  4. Combine matzo cake meal with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
  5. Generously grease a baking sheet with the margarine and sprinkle with cake meal-sugar mixture.
  6. Shake off excess.
  7. Drop batter 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake in a preheated 250 degree Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius or Centigrade) oven until cookies are very firm and faintly browned, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  9. Remove cookies from oven.
  10. Place confectioners' sugar in a sifter and sprinkle over cookies.
  11. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  12. When completely cool, store in a tightly closed cookie tin at room temperature.

Note: These ricciarelli almond cookies can be frozen, although they are freshest when eaten within a few days of baking them. Thaw at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Makes about 24 to 30 ricciarelli cookies / almond cookies.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 82; Calories From Fat: 57.

% Daily Value

Total Fat: 6 grams = 10%; Saturated Fat: 1 gram = 3%; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams = 0%; Sodium: 27 milligrams = 1%; Total Carbohydrates: 4 grams = 1%; Dietary Fiber: 1 gram = 4%; Sugars: 2 grams; Protein: 3 grams; Vitamin A: 1%; Vitamin C: 0%; Calcium: 3%; Iron: 3%.

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