Paste di Mandorla are delicious Italian lemon almond biscuits made from ground almonds. With crispy edges and soft and chewy centres, they are very moreish! These Sicilian almond cookies are delicately flavoured with zesty lemon, and are similar to my popular ricciarelli recipe (which are another Italian almond cookie from Siena).
Why we love this almond cookie recipe
- These cookies are gluten and dairy free.
- They freeze well – making them a great cookie recipe for making in advance – and they defrost quickly.
- Delicious with coffee or as afternoon tea.
- Tasty recipe for using up egg whites.
- Almond flour – also known as ground almonds or almond meal.
- Lemon zest – use fresh lemons.
- White sugar – granulated sugar.
- Icing sugar – also known as confectioners sugar. This gives the cookies a lovely snowy outer layer.
- Almond extract – adds extra almond flavour and makes the cookies a little chewier.
- Egg whites – use the leftover yolks to make duchess potatoes, custard, hollandaise sauce, or brush over pastry to give it a shiny golden finish.
How to make Italian almond cookies
- Whisk egg whites with a fork until frothy.
- Mix in almond flour, sugar, almond extract and lemon zest.
- Stir well to combine.
- Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll in to balls.
- Roll the balls in icing sugar.
- Place on lined baking tins and bake.
Yes. Almond flour is finely ground almonds.
Yes you can.
Place the completely cold cookies on a freezer proof plate or tray, not touching. Place in the freezer until frozen solid. Once fully frozen you can transfer them to a container or ziplock bag and freeze until needed (these cookies will freeze for up to 6 weeks)
My Recipe Tips
- When mixing the dough, the mixture will seem very dry at first – keep on stirring with a spoon or get your hands in the bowl, and the dough will come together.
- Place the cookies in the oven when it’s reached temperature.
- Don’t overcook – these almond lemon cookies taste best when light golden brown as the centres are soft and chewy. If you overcook them they will become dry and crisp all the way through.
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Sicilian paste di mandorla
- 250g (2½c) almond meal (almond flour, ground almonds)
- 190g (½c+⅓c) white sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ lemon zested
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar confectioners sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan / 180˚C / 320˚F convection / 356˚F.
- Line 2 trays with baking paper.
- Sieve the icing sugar on to a plate.
- Whisk the egg whites with a fork until fluffy. It doesn't need to be stiff peaks like making meringue (see image 1 in 'how to make Italian almond cookies' above for reference).
- Add the almond meal, sugar, almond extract and lemon zest and mix to combine.
- It will seem dry at first but keep working with a spoon or your hands.
- Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls in your hands then roll in icing sugar.
- Place onto the baking tins, leaving a little room in between.
- Using a finger, flatten slightly
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Cool on tin.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or cool completely and then freeze for up to 4 weeks.