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Ricciarelli cookies on white candy wrappers.

Ricciarelli: Italian Almond Cookies

Ricciareli, Italian Almond Cookies are deliciously soft and chewy cookies with a distinctive crackled surface. A typical Sienese Christmas cookie.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword gluten free cookie, Ricciarelli Italian Almond Cookies, Sienese almond cookies, Tuscan cookie
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 112kcal
Author Marisa


  • Food Processor
  • 2 parchment lined baking sheets


  • 2 1/2 cups blanched almonds see notes below for blanching your own
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • lemon zest from half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • egg whites from 2 large eggs
  • powdered sugar for dusting approximately 1 cup


Preparing The Cookie Dough

  • In a food processor, pulse together the blanched almonds with 3/4 cups of the powdered sugar until fine in texture.
  • Add in the remaining sugar, lemon zest, almond extract, the vanilla bean seeds and pulse together until very fine. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with a fork just until foamy.
  • Add the beaten egg whites to the almond mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time while stirring  just until you've achieved a stiff dough.
  • Transfer the dough onto your work surface and divide it into 2 equal portions.
  • Dust your hands and a flat work surface with a little powdered sugar and roll out the cookie dough into a log about one inch and a half in diameter. (work with one portion at a time)
  • Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

When Ready To Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Slice each cookie log into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball. ( you should have 24 dough balls)
  • One at a time, slightly flatten each ball between the palms of your hands while forming into an oval shape.
  • Place the shaped cookies onto the prepared baking sheets while spacing them 2 inches apart.
  • Dust generously with powdered sugar.
  • Bake one sheet at a time in the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the sides are pale golden in colour.
  • Take care not to over bake them. They should look dry and not overly dark.
  • Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet as these cookies are very soft and fragile when removed from the oven.
  • Enjoy with your favourite sweet wine or Vin Santo.
  • They keep well for up to a week at room temperature sealed in an air tight container.


Blanching Almonds
Place the almonds in a pot of boiling water and allow to simmer for about 60 to 70 seconds. The almonds will start to rise and bob on the surface. The skin will have a shrivelled up appearance.
Drain the almonds and run under cold water then pat dry with a clean dish towel.
One at a time, gently press on the almond between your thumb and index finger to release the nut from its skin.
Allow the blanched almonds to dry at room temperature, on a clean dish towel, before proceeding with the recipe. This can also be done overnight.
If you're pressed for time you can dry the almonds in a low heated oven for 5 minutes or so.


Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg