Pistachio Amaretti are a twist on the traditional Italian amaretti cookies, but with the addition of pistachios. Crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside they are the perfect sweet treat with your cup of coffee and especially gorgeous for your holiday dessert table. They are also gluten free!
Lately, I’ve been thinking of that package of chopped pistachios that I brought over from Sicily. I decided I really need to use them so I finally got around to making Sicilian Veal Involtini, which were a huge hit at our house! Next, I figured it was time to make something sweet. I immediately thought of my mother’s traditional amaretti recipe and I decided that pistachios would taste great in those cookies, and wow was I right!
I started making amaretti only one year ago. It was one of those usual situations where my mother had a general idea of the quantity of each ingredient because of course, like all good Italian cooks, she could figure out by eye exactly what amount of each ingredient was needed. It took me about four trials and two visits to her house until I finally got them just right. I did all that so I could finally share the recipe here with all of you. And from the reactions I’ve gotten so far, it was all worth it!
How to make Pistachio Amaretti
Many people have told me that they have never made amaretti ’cause they find them rather intimidating. Yes, you can find piles of them in any good Italian bakery but aside from the fancy look and name, they are one of the easiest cookies you can make! You can literally prepare a batch ready for the oven within ten minutes. Let me walk you through it.
- Combine the egg and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the amaretto or vanilla extract.
- Next incorporate the almond flour and ground pistachios. Then stir in the baking powder.
- This will result in a firm dough rather than a batter.
- Roll into tablespoon sized balls, coat lightly in powdered sugar. Then coat one side in chopped pistachios, pressing lightly for the pistachios to stick. Bake at 325F for 15-16 minutes and enjoy!
A few tips:
- I purchased my pistachios in Sicily and they came chopped as shown below. If these are not available where you live, purchase whole shelled pistachios which you will then grind in your food processor to turn into pistachio flour.
- I tested this recipe using both amaretto and vanilla extracts and quite frankly both turned out delicious. Since I couldn’t decide which I prefer, I’m presenting both options in the recipe. If you’re partial to that traditional amaretto flavor in your cookies, choose that one. But if you love vanilla, go for it. Of course, you can always make half batches of both and see which you prefer.
- Baking time may vary according to your oven. In my oven these take precisely 16 minutes to bake. You are looking for a light brown color underneath. Begin checking the cookies after fifteen minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
- Amaretti must be kept in a tightly sealed container in order to maintain their chewy texture otherwise they’ll be hard as rocks! Store for 3-4 days at room temperature.
- Alternately they can be frozen. This is a great idea of you want to get ahead now on your holiday baking!
That’s all there is to it! I hope you enjoy this recipe or my basic Chewy Amaretti recipe. If you do try them, please post a photo of your creations by tagging me with @mangiabedda or #mangiabedda on Instagram or Facebook. You can also feel free to share on social media by clicking the social icons on this page. Buon appetito!
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp Amaretto or vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup ground pistachios, see note
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios, for coating
- Preheat oven to 325 F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg and sugar. Stir in the Amaretto or vanilla extract.
- Add the almond flour, ground pistachios and baking powder and stir until combined and a firm dough is formed.
- Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball. Lightly dredge in the icing sugar, shaking off excess.
- Press down lightly on the chopped pistachios and place pistachio side up on the prepared baking sheets. Continue with the remaining dough.
- Bake for 16 minutes until golden and the tops of the cookies are crackled and the underside are lightly browned.
- Transfer to rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- If ground pistachios are not available where you live, purchase shelled pistachios which you will then grind in your food processor to turn into pistachio flour.
- I tested this recipe using both amaretto and vanilla extracts and quite frankly both turned out delicious. Since I couldn't decide which I prefer, I'm presenting both options in the recipe.
- Baking time may vary according to your oven. In my oven these take precisely 16 minutes to bake. You are looking for a light brown color underneath. Begin checking the cookies after fifteen minutes to make sure they don't burn.
- Amaretti must be kept in a tightly sealed container in order to maintain their chewy texture otherwise they'll be hard as rocks! Store for 3-4 days at room temperature.
- Alternately they can be frozen.