Raspberry Amaretti Cookies With A Fun Surprise Center

Freeze-dried and fresh raspberries make these amaretti extra special.
Freeze-dried and fresh raspberries make these amaretti extra special.

Like the best Easter confections that tempt at this time of year, these cookies are adorable, colorful, and sport a surprise filling sure to delight.

What’s more, “Raspberry Amaretti Cookies” are also gluten-free.

Made with almond meal, egg whites, and sugar, its dough gets fruity tang and a smidge of pink from pulverized freeze-dried raspberries mixed in. And at the center of each cookie hides a single fresh raspberry that you don’t see until you take a bite.

This fun recipe is from “Nadiya Bakes” (Clarkson Potter, 2020), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nadiya Hussain, the season 6 winner of “The Great British Baking Show.” The cookbook is a companion to her BBC and Netflix series of the same name.

The U.K.-based baker emphatically calls baking her true first love. This book includes both sweet and savory treats. Her recipes take influence from both her Bangladeshi heritage and her British upbringing in creations such as “Matcha and Kiwi Hurricane Roll,” “Scotch Creme Eggs,” “Rainbow Veg Pakora Picnic Pie,” and “Cherry Chelsea Buns.”

The dough for these cookies is a little loose and sticky. But if you dampen your hands ever so lightly with water, it makes forming round discs easier. Each disc gets wrapped around a fresh raspberry, before being formed into a ball that gets rolled in confectioner’s sugar.

The whole fresh raspberry hidden inside.
The whole fresh raspberry hidden inside.

These amaretti bake up with an inviting crackly sugared top. They are a little heavier in texture than the ones you buy in the familiar Italian tins. But they are still plenty light and airy, and ever so chewy. They are perfumed with almond, and boast a sweet yet lively raspberry flavor. The raspberry at the center retains its shape and offers up a burst of fresh brightness.

Hussain advises that these cookies are best the day they’re baked because of the fresh fruit inside. If you want the cookies to last longer, she suggests omitting the fresh raspberry or substituting it with a freeze-dried raspberry in the center.

I refrigerated some of the leftover baked cookies, and froze a few others to enjoy later. In both cases, the cookies tasted just fine, but they will acquire a softer texture.

Full of almond and berry goodness.
Full of almond and berry goodness.

Raspberry Amaretti Cookies

(Makes about 20 cookies)

Butter, for greasing the baking sheets

4 large egg whites

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

3 1/2 cups almond meal

2/3 ounce freeze-dried raspberries, blitzed to a powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

20 small fresh raspberries

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees and lining two large baking sheets with parchment paper, greasing them just very slightly to allow the paper to stick to the sheet and not go flying.

Now get on to making the cookie paste mixture by whisking the egg whites in a large clean bowl until they are firm. Add the sugar and fold it in gently using a spatula or metal spoon. Add the almond meal along with the blitzed-up raspberry powder and almond extract and mix thoroughly until you have an even paste.

Have the confectioners’ sugar at the ready along with the raspberries. Take a heaped tablespoon of mixture, about 1 1/2 ounce if you want to be precise and shape it into a flat round disc. (Using slightly dampened hands works well here.) Wrap the disc around a raspberry to form a ball shape, pinching it together underneath so that the raspberry is completely enclosed. The paste may crack a bit along the top, but don’t worry. Repeat with the rest of the cookie paste.

Drop each ball into confectioners’ sugar and roll around until fully and generously coated. Place seam-side down on the baking sheets, making sure they are about 3/4-inch apart, as they will spread just a little.

Now bake these for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are just lightly golden. Take them out and let cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Adapted from “Nadiya Bakes” by Nadiya Hussain

Another Recipe from Nadiya Hussain to Enjoy: Preserved Lemon Sheet Cake

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