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Italian Almond Paste Cookies

Almond cookies, also called almond paste cookies, are typical of Sicily and are very easy to prepare at home: just a few ingredients are needed to churn out chewy and delicious cookies, which are not too sweet and can be served as a dessert at the end of the meal or savored in all their best every moment of the day.

Every Sicilian almond cookie is covered in icing sugar and includes a raw element, which can be a candied cherry or a pine nut for example, on top: the sugar slightly sweetens the biscuit which, due to the presence of the almonds, it is quite bitter.

If you don’t want to waste time with classic shortbread and want to prepare a quick and tasty Italian treat, follow this traditional Italian recipe and make your own gluten-free almond paste cookies. Below the recipe a lot of tips to prepare some very special and really Italian almond paste cookies.

Ingredients for for 16-18 cookies

  • 250 grams of peeled almonds (1 3/4 cups)
  • 200 grams of sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 fresh egg whites
  • a teaspoon of almond extract
  • icing sugar
  • pine nuts or candied cherries (optional)


  1. Blend the almonds and the sugar until you get a floury dough: refrain from running the food processor continuously, as over-processing almonds releases the nuts' oils;
  2. In a bowl separate the egg whites from the yolks;
  3. Combine the egg whites and the almond extract with the chopped almonds and blend to mix everything;
  4. Form 16 balls of dough, flatten them slightly so that a raised tip forms;
  5. Add a candied cherry cut in half or a pine nut on each biscuit;
  6. Place the biscuits in the refrigerator on a baking tray covered with parchment paper for at least 3 hours, covered with plastic wrap;
  7. After this time, bake the cookies in a preheated convection oven at 180° for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven, the times and temperatures may be different!);
  8. Remove from the oven, let them cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Preparation time: 3.3 hours

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 3.6 hours

Almond Paste Cookies: Tips and Tricks

  • These almond cookies are kept for at least a week in a plastic bag;
  • These almond paste cookies do not freeze since once thawed, even in the fridge, they release too much water;
  • They can be left in the fridge much longer than 3 hours: if you have time, you can leave them in the fridge a whole night so they won’t break in the oven;
  • The almond flavoring can be replaced with vanilla extract or orange extract for a different taste;
  • You can use sugar substitutes instead of white sugar if you want to prepare gluten-free and sugar-free almond paste cookies;
  • You can also soak the balls made with the almond paste into the sugar then crush them slightly and put them in the refrigerator: in this way you will get cookies that resemble the ricciarelli;
  • If you do not line the baking tray with parchment paper, these pastries could burn underneath because the dough is quite oily;
  • You can add coconut flour to the dough for an even tastier result.

Commonly Asked Almond Cookies Questions

These are the most frequent questions and answers related to these almond paste cookies: they are the same questions we asked ourselves and we want to share the answers with you to facilitate you in the preparation of these cookies.

Can I use almond flour to make these almond cookies?

Yes, as long as it is raw and not chemically treated. We recommend these brands, which we use for our preparations at home when we have no almonds:

Nature’s Eats Blanched Almond Flour – Available at Amazon.com

Blue Diamond Almond Flour – Available at Amazon.com

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour – Available at Amazon.com

Can I use a piping bag to give the cookies the shape of real Sicilian almond pastries?

Yes, you can use the piping bag with a 10 mm lined nozzle: be careful to use a resistant one because the dough is not liquid and could force both the nozzle and the bag.

We recommend these:

Can I use a biscuit maker to give the cookies a different shape?

You can also use a biscuit maker, that is usually more resistant than the piping bag and it is equipped with nozzles of different sizes and types with which you can have fun churning out cookies of the most different shapes.

We recommend this:

If this recipe made your mouth water, go straight to the stove and start making these delicious almond paste cookies!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

If you’re looking for a new stand mixer for your home, have a look at our selection.

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska works as SEO Manager and Localization Project Manager She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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