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Italian Staple May 2020 – Featuring Amaretti Cookies

Amaretti cookies – soft, sweet, sensational. At Flora Foods, we love talking about Italian staples, so we thought it was time to share these delicious tidbits with our customers and foodies. Each month, we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about a featured Italian staple. One of those foods that is authentically, undeniably Italian. This month our focus is on Amaretti cookies. Let’s get started by learning everything and anything there is to know about one of our favorite sweet and traditional Italian staples – Amaretti cookies.

The Essential Guide to Amaretti Cookies

An Overview of The Amaretti Cookie. If you are not up on your Italian staples, you might be wondering, “What’s an Amaretti cookie?” Sometimes confused with its counterpart, the Biscotti, the Amaretti is wonderfully delicious and a classic Italian sweet treat.

“Amaro” means bitter in Italian. The literal translation of Amaretti is “little bitter ones,” a name stemming from the bitter almond base of the cookie.  Of course, this is mixed with sugar, egg whites and a variety of delicious ingredients, such as chocolate or fruit that make the cookies savory and sweet desserts.

It’s common to confuse the name Amaretti with Amaretto, the almond-flavored liqueur originating from Saronno, Italy. To make things even more confusing and interesting, Amaretto is sometimes an added ingredient for creative bakers adding flair to their Amaretti biscuits. These Amaretto-infused cookies are referred to as Amaretti di Saronno.

The History of Amaretti Cookies. The Italian lore tells a romantic story of the Amaretti cookie’s beginning. As the story goes, two lovers in Saronno who owned a baker’s shop in 1719 wanted to commemorate the visit of a cardinal from Milan but had only limited ingredients available. The little biscuits made from the key ingredients of Amaretti cookies (as we know them today) were wrapped in beautifully decorated paper. From that point, the tasty cookies became a gift that Italians would give during holidays and special occasions in decorative tins and wooden boxes.

The earliest Amaretti boxes were decorated with glamorous women, romantic moonlit skies and classic Christmas scenes.

Creative Serving Tips for Amaretti Cookies. Amaretti cookies are a household staple in Italian homes. In Italy, they are lovingly referred to as “biscotti da credenza,” meaning the can always be pulled out of the cupboard for a treat after a meal or an afternoon pick-me-up with a cappuccino. A traditional way to serve the almond-flavored cookies is side by side with dessert wines, liqueur or coffee. They are a common go-to snack any time of the day.

Amaretti Cookies also make an appearance in Italian desserts like Tiramisu variations, tarts and chocolate cakes. Amaretti Cookies can be ground and mixed into cake batter, turned into a cookie crust for pie or simply crumbled on top of fresh fruit for a light and elegant dessert. Here are a few ideas to get your culinary wheels spinning.

  • Spiced Fruit with Crème Fraiche and Crumbled Amaretti Cookies – Pears are a perfect choice (although other fruits will work just as well). Spiced and warmed, poached pears with a dollop of cream with crumbled Amaretti cookies on top make an elegant, unique and simple dessert.
  • Amaretti cookie-based cheesecake – Ricotta cheesecake is an Italian favorite. It becomes even lighter and delicate in flavor when you make the crust with these Italian cookies.

Amaretti Flavors to Make Your Mouth Water. Traditional Amaretti cookies are made with almond-based flour, offering a nutty, sweet flavor that is both subtle and comforting. Amarettis can also be infused with dried fruits, chocolate, espresso beans and pistachios.

Flora Fine Foods proudly shares authentic Italian staples like the Amaretti cookie with those seeking a slice of true Italian flavor. Our line of quality Italian foods includes desserts, pastas, olives, olive oils and so much more. It all started with the dream of our founder, John Flora, who had a dream of offering food that reminded him of his homeland to the community he immigrated to as a young child. Be sure to try one of the many delicious Italian staples found at Flora Fine Foods, your taste buds will thank you for it.

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