AMARETTI WITH HONEY & ORANGE BLOSSOM
MAKES 20 COOKIES
2 cups + 2 tbsp almond meal ½ cup + 2 tsp granulated sugar Finely grated zest of 1 lemon Finely grated zest of 1 small orange ⅛ tsp salt 2⅛ oz egg whites (from 1½ large
eggs) 3½ tsp honey ¼ tsp orange blossom water ⅛ tsp best-quality almond extract 1 cup sliced almonds, for rolling 3½ tbsp icing sugar Combine the almond meal, sugar, lemon and orange zests and salt in a bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. At the same time, place the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Just before the honey comes to a boil, increase the speed of the mixer to mediumhigh. While the honey boils for 30 seconds, the egg whites should be forming soft peaks. Remove the honey from the heat and carefully pour into the egg whites in a continuous stream, beating the entire time. Continue beating after all the honey has been added, until the meringue is fully whipped and cooled, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment.
Add the almond meal mixture, orange blossom water and almond extract. Beat until it all comes together to form a soft pliable paste. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Once chilled, divide the mixture into four equal portions. Sprinkle a quarter of the sliced almonds on a clean work surface and roll out one piece of dough overtop to form a log 12" long and ⅔" wide covered in almonds.
Carefully transfer the log onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and sliced almonds. Place all the logs on the same baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the baking sheet from the fridge and cut each log into five 2⅓" pieces. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and roll each piece in the icing sugar to cover. Place the pieces ¾" apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown but still soft. Remove from the oven and set aside on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool on a wire rack.