Chewy Almond Paste Cookies
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Almond Paste Cookies are sweet and chewy, made with almond paste and gluten free flour, topped with sliced almonds. It’s the perfect gluten free cookie for the holidays!
If you need more holiday cookie ideas, check out my White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, Chewy Gluten Free Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Flourless Oatmeal Cookies!
Chewy Almond Paste Cookies
Chewy Almond Paste Cookies are one of my FAVORITE cookies to make on the holidays, because they are the perfect mix of sweet and chewy on the inside, with crunchy on the outside. They’re rolled in sliced almonds and coated in powdered sugar. You can find different versions of this cookie across europe, but I’ve always known them from the Italian bakery. If you want something closer to ricciarelli, you can add a teaspoon of orange zest to the filling. You can also dip half in chocolate decoratively if you want something more like a german horn (if you want the horn you’ll have to pipe it into the shape before baking).
Is almond paste the same as marzipan?
Almond paste and marzipan are similar, but marzipan has more sugar, which makes it better to use for decoration. While almond paste is sticky and better as an ingredient only.
Can you use almond paste instead of extract?
I make this using my Homemade Almond Paste, which has both almond flour and almond extract, giving it a really strong flavor. You can add more or less extract according to your taste and the other ingredients in your recipe.
With my homemade recipe, you can also scale it up or down, depending on how many ounces almond paste your recipe calls for. Plus if you don’t have almond flour, you can just use finely ground almonds from the food processor to make the paste.
If you don’t feel like making it yourself, you can usually find the pre-made version in the baking aisle.
If you don’t have almond extract for your cookies, you’d be fine leaving it out. But I add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract into the cookies because I like a little stronger flavor at the end. You can add a whole teaspoon if you’d prefer a more intense almond flavor. If you don’t care for a strong almond flavor, you can also replace it with a teaspoon vanilla extract.
How do you know when almond paste cookies are done?
These are done with the bottoms start looking slighly brown around the edges. The cookies themselves will still be really soft, just leave them to cool for 10-20 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the additional powdered sugar (not including what’s in the recipe already). You should end up with a crunchy outer shell, and a soft almond center. I’ve seen recipes that add the decorative powdered sugar before baking, but I like how it looks when it’s added at the end.
Can you freeze chewy almond cookies?
Yes you can bake these ahead of time and freeze them for later. I recommend layering them with parchment paper so they don’t freeze together. Wrap them tightly in an airtight container, or in a ziplock bag that’s wrapped in tinfoil for an extra layer of protection.
If you don’t want to bake them ahead of time, you can also drop the cookies before baking (already rolled in almonds) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about an hour, or until solid, then place them into a ziplock bag and freeze. You can place them directly onto a lined baking sheet from the freezer and bake.
These will freeze for 2-3 months.
How long do almond cookies last?
Almond cookies will last at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week. Any longer than that and I would freeze them in the interim.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- If you leave the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, it will be easier to roll them into balls. I’ve also left it in for a few hours before, I just let it sit out on the counter for about a half four before starting.
- This cookie dough is really sticky. If your hands get too sticky with the almond paste mixture and it’s hard to roll a ball of dough, rinse your hands in warm water to quickly clean them off. It’s also easier to roll the dough into balls if it’s cold.
- Because this is a really sticky dough, I always line the baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. If you don’t have prepared baking sheets, it’ll be hard to remove them once they’re baked.
- How many cookies this makes depends on the size of your scoops. I recommend using a cookie scoop so they all come about the same size. You can make smaller or larger ones depending on the occassion. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, use two teaspoons to form your cookie dough to roughly the same size.
- If you want to be creative, add a handful of dark chocolate chips to the dough before rolling and add a pinch of flakey salt on top when they come out of the oven. The pinch of salt adds a deeper flavor when combined with the chocolate.
- Another creative option would be to add some lemon zest and roll in crushed pistachios, or add a teaspoon of instant coffee and ground cinnamon to add flavor.
- I always use 1-to-1 gluten free all-purpose flour, so if you don’t have to avoid gluten you can just use the regular stuff.
- If you’re not sure what to do with the yolks after you remove the egg whites, may I recommend Avocado Brownies? If you make other recipes that use egg whites, like angel food cake for example, you can always make homemade eggnog with the yolks.
- I use sliced almonds because they’re aesthetically pleasing, but you can also use crushed almonds in the food processor if that’s what you have.
- As always, make sure you’re using measuring cups specific to dry ingredients, and leveling them off before adding to the bowl.
- I use a stand mixer to cream together the almond paste and granulated sugar before adding the other dry ingredients. If you use a stand mixer instead of a bowl, be careful not to over-mix.
Chewy Almond Paste Cookies
- 16 oz almond paste
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup gluten free 1-to-1 flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 4 large egg whites , beaten
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, cream together almond paste, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar until combined. On the slowest setting add flour, salt, almond extract, and egg whites. Combine until just mixed together.
- Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out dough. Roll into a ball with your hands and roll in sliced almonds, then place on baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are starting to turn golden brown towards the bottom half of the cookie. Cool before serving.
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I really like the flavor and texture of these cookies. I’ve made them twice. The first time was a learning time. I used a stand mixer. I beat my eggs until they were soft peaks. I mixed the sugars and the almond paste together slowly until it no longer had dry ingredients visible. The dough was extremely sticky. Big mess.
The second time I beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and did all of the same steps. Mixed to salt, flour extract, and egg whites into the almond mixture slowly until incorporated. Scraping down the sides of the mixer to ensure the bits at the bottom were mixed in. The dough is much less sticky on your hands and as easier to form into balls. Baked on parchment.Came out great!
OH, SOOOOO good! Basically I threw everything together.
This sounded so good. It is a very sticky dough. Is there enough flour? Also unclear if the egg whites should be beaten to stiff peaks.
This recipe will be prefect for my dairy free daughter. Would love to make them for a vegan, gluten-free friend. Is there a substitute I could use instead of egg white?
These cookies are absolutely fantastic! I am a choco-holic, so I like to dip half the cookie in melted chocolate and top with multi-color sprinkles. I also made them with a half cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips folded in and topped with powdered sugar. Everyone, including me, loved them!
Thank you! I love the chocolate dip with sprinkles idea. I’m making these for my family for Christmas, I’m going to try that!
Can I assume the 16 oz of almond paste is weight not volume ??????
Yes it is weight
How stiff do I need to beat the egg white?
My husband can no longer have a lot of sodium so these cookies look like a good option. If I eliminate the salt and use unsalted almonds, outside of the eggs would there be any other sources of salt? Thanks!
Check your flour blend but I don’t think there’s a lot in there.
Delightful!! Made these for a baby shower where mom- to- be is gluten intolerant. I had to keep my hubby away for eating too many. Ended up making a second batch so we could keep some at home! These are a beautiful cookie that is reminiscent of a good Italian almond cookie to be eaten with an espresso! I will be doing this tomorrow! I have read some of the comments where cooks have experienced difficulty with making these. I would like to offer some tips. 1st use a Kitchen Aid mixer (if you have one). Add the almond paste which has been cut into cubes with the powder and granulated sugars. I just let the mixer do the work. Takes several minutes. Mix on low. Once mixed, add the 1 to 1 gluten free Bob’s Mill flour, salt, and almond extract. Mix on low till well incorporated. At this point remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the 4 egg whites which have been beaten with hand mixer until fluffy and stiff! Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes to an hour or so. Use a cookie scoop to scoop dough and roll in the sliced almonds. Hopefully this will be helpful for those that struggled with this recipe. It is to good not to make! Thank you Jacqui for a beautiful, delicious, and elegant cookie.
Great recipe if you change to “almond paste—cut into small pieces” and “egg whites—whipped to stiff peaks.” Without these specifications, my dough was both chunky and soupy.
Can I use regular flour in this recipe instead of gluten free?
Yes it should work fine.
Great cookie! I grated the almond paste with a hand greater. Makes it much easier to combine with the sugar. I also whipped the egg whites to stiff peaks then folded them into sugar mixture as suggested by another reviewer. Refrigerated the dough for about 1 hour. The dough was a little sticky but very easy to handle. I used a small cookie scoop and got about 60 cookies. My husband said they were the best cookie he has ever had, and I agree. If you love almond flavor, this is the cookie for you. Make them and you won’t be disappointed.
Can you use almond flour?
I haven’t tried it, I would worry that the cookies would spread more easily and end up flat. King Arthur has an article about it, they swapped it in chocolate chip cookies.
This is the best recipe I’ve tried for “ Pignoli cookies”. I made half with the pignoli I had in the freezer, and used sliced almonds for the rest. They were perfect and we love them with pignoli and equally with the sliced almonds!!!
“use finely ground almonds from the food processor to make the paste”
Hi, do you add water to the finely ground almonds (or almond flour) to make the almond paste? What is the proportion (the consistency) please?
Check out my recipe for homemade almond paste here – https://www.dishingdelish.com/almond-paste/
I’m wondering if I can use any other kind of sugar or sweetner instead of refined white sugar, for example brown sugar, coconut sugar or Munk fruit
I haven’t tried it, but I would be worried that brown sugar or sugar substitute would make the cookies spread too much.
I wouldn’t change the sugar for this one. Brown sugar tends to spread the cookie, I think they’d end up flat. Maybe a mixture would be ok, but I haven’t tried it.