Ricciarelli: Almond Paste Cookies

Ricciarelli are Sienese almond paste cookies dating back to the 14th century. They were most often served with dessert wine but who says you can't have them with tea or coffee?
Course Cookie
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 32
Author Lemons & Anchovies


  • ***For 14 ounces of Almond Paste you can also use store-bought***
  • 1 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg whites large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • ***For the cookies***
  • 14 ounces almond paste see ingredients above if making from scratch
  • 2/3 - 1 cup ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1 egg white roughly two tablespoons or 1 ounce
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flour for rolling dough
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling over cookies before baking


  1. If you make your own almond paste, use a food processor to finely grind the almonds. It may take about 2 minutes before you have the right texture--you want the ground almonds to be smooth but before they expel their oil. Stir the ground almonds together with the remaining ingredients, powdered sugar, egg whites almond extract and kosher salt. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the cookies: Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste with 2/3 cup of the ground almonds (or almond meal) using the low setting. Add the egg white and mix again until well blended. Finally add the baking powder and vanilla extract and process until blended again.
  3. The dough will be very sticky. If it looks too wet, add the remaining 1/3 cup almond meal. I used a full cup of almond meal in this recipe.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and scoop out the dough from the mixing bowl onto the counter. You might need to sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough so you can work with it. Form the dough into a ball and divide in two pieces. Roll each piece into a thin log, roughly 3/4 - 1 inch in diameter. Cut the log in 1-inch pieces, sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar. Flatten the top of each piece and form into a diamond shape. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Transfer the shaped pieces of dough on parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave to rest for a minimum of one hour to overnight.
  5. To bake: Preheat your oven to 300℉. Bake the cookies for 20 mins, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time. Don't let the cookies get too brown or crisp--the idea is to keep them soft. Cool on a rack before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from The Italian Baker (Revised) by Carol Field.

I had to improvise on this recipe because following instructions didn't give me the results I was supposed to get. The range for cooking time was very wide but the low end of the range worked for me.

Prep time includes 1 hour wait time before baking the cookies.