Delicious Italian Almond Meringue Cookies

Jul 29, 2020 | desserts, Recipes

Today on Chef’s Notes, we are going to take a look at how to make delicious Italian Almond Meringue Cookies. I first had these cookies about ten years ago. They were made by an old Italian woman that used to do prep in a restaurant where I used to work. She told me that the secret to these cookies is to whip them for a very long time. According to this lovely Italian woman, the mixer should pretty much be smoking by the time it has finished mixing. I don’t recommend taking things so far that your mixer bursts into flames, but the cookies are best when mixed for about ten minutes on high. Of course, that’s only one part of the equation. Let’s take a look at the full process of making these meringue cookies.


Toasting the Almonds

Almond meringue cookies need almonds, so that is where we are going to start. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add to it half a cup of almonds. Do not add oil to the pan. Keep the almonds moving as much as possible while they are toasting. Cook them for about 4-5 minutes or until they turn golden brown. You can do this in the oven at 350°f for about 10 minutes, for a more even roast. However, I prefer to toast nuts in a pan, rather than in the oven because I have more control, even if the toast isn’t as uniform. Once the nuts are toast, pour them out of the pan on to a plate and let them cool to room temperature.


How to make Meringue

The almonds are toasted and cooling. Now it’s time to make the meringue. Use four egg whites that have been sitting at room temperature for about half an hour. It is essential that there is no egg yolk at all in the whites. The fat from the egg yolk will prevent the whites from reaching the volume they need to make these cookies. It is also vital that the mixing bowl not have any oil or grease in it at all. I find it helps to rub the inside of the mixing bowl with lemon before making the meringue. The acid from the lemon will break down any small amounts of grease that are on the bowl. However, make sure not to rub the bowl with the lemon rind. Natural lemon oils will come out and cling to the sides of the bowl, ultimately defeating the purpose.

Put the four egg whites in the bowl of the mixer and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the egg whites start to foam. At this point, add in the salt, lemon juice, and almond extract. Turn the speed of the mixer up to high and slowly add the sugar about a third of a cup at a time. When all the sugar is in the meringue, step back, leaving the mixer on high, and set a 10-minute timer. When the timer goes off, the meringue is ready.

A note about the amount of sugar.

There is 1 cup of sugar in this recipe, which may seem like a lot. Do not cut this back. If you do, the meringues won’t set properly. This recipe makes 24 cookies, minimum so, even though it seems like a lot of sugar, it is only half a teaspoon in each cookie.


Making Italian Almond Meringue Cookies

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1JjaT-Y8Pc[/embedyt]

When the meringue is ready, and the almonds have cooled, you can combine the two. Put the almonds in the bowl with the meringue, and using a spatula, gently fold them into the meringue to evenly spread them throughout. Put the meringue in a large piping bag with an opening big enough for the almonds to come out. I was out of piping bags, so I used a large ziplock bag with one corner cut out. This worked reasonably well.

Pipe the meringue cookies on to two parchment paper-lined baking sheets. I find it helpful to spray the sheet pan with cooking spray before putting the parchment down. This helps hold the paper in place and prevents it from rolling. You can also set a dab of meringue on each corner of the sheet pan before putting the parchment down. The meringue in the edges of the pan will have the same effect as the cooking spray, but it can be a bit more challenging to clean afterwards.

Bake the cookies at 225°F for two hours. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before putting in an airtight container. If the meringue cookies are left unsealed for too long, they will start to pull moisture from the air and get soggy and sad. These cookies will last in an airtight container for about a week before they begin to go stale.


Conclusion

Whether you have some company over, want something nice and light to have with your afternoon tea or coffee, or just feel like something sweet, these Italian Almond Meringue Cookies are the perfect thing. Yes, they take a while to bake, but there is very little active time involved. You can put a batch of these together in a few minutes, pop them in the oven then go about your day. I promise, two hours after these go in the oven, you will be dying for something sweet and past you will have delivered.

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Italian Almond Meringue Cookies

A simple and delicious Almond Meringue Cookie recipe that also happens to be gluten-free.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Almond Cookies, Cookies, Gluten Free, Meringue, Meringue Cookies
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg Whites Room Temp
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

Instructions

  • Pour the slivered almonds into a hot, dry pan and toss to toast them until they are golden brown. Remove the almonds from the pan, and let cool to room temp.
  • Slowly whip the egg whites until they start to foam.
  • Add the salt, almond extract, and lemon juice and turn the mixer on to high.
  • Slowly pour in the sugar and whip on high for 10 minutes.
  • Fold the toasted almonds into the meringue and spoon into a piping bag with a wide opening.
  • Pipe the meringue into 2 tbsp mounds onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  • Bake in the oven at 225°F for two hours. Remove from the oven and let cool completely then put in an airtight container and eat within one week.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

4 Comments

  1. Cynthia

    Recipe was simple to put together, and the resulting cookies were divine! I’m adding the recipe to my cookie repertoire and holiday cookie list.

  2. Anonymous

    This is quite detailed but you still need to remind people about the fundamentals of Italian meringue (peaks, speed of adding sugar etc)

  3. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Great recipe with great details. They turned out perfectly. They taste even better after a few days in the fridge or freezer.
    Thank you!

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