Made in the almond growing region around Siena in Italy for at least 500 years, these Orange and Almond Ricciarelli are a perfect little sweet treat to have with your morning coffee. I developed the recipe when I worked at 'Caracoli'' - a group of independent coffee shops in Hampshire and Surrey. They were so popular with customers wanting, "just a little something ". They are gluten free with a crispy outside and a soft chewy inside - very moreish!
350g ground almonds
140g granulated or caster sugar
65g icing sugar for the biscuits (plus an extra 30g for rolling)
1 orange, finely grated zest
3 egg whites, at room temperature
35g runny honey
1/2 tsp almond essence
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Line two baking trays with baking parchment. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground almonds, granulated sugar, icing sugar and orange zest. Rub your fingers through the mixture in order to distribute the orange zest evenly.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold in the almond mixture. Add the honey and essences. Mix everything together to form slightly sticky dough.
Pinch off about 30g of the mixture, roll into a ball and place on the baking tray. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Put the extra 30g icing sugar into a bowl and roll each ball in the sugar. Return them to the baking tray, pinch into a diamond shape with thumb and forefinger and flatten the top very slightly.
Set the biscuits aside for about 1 - 2 hours to dry out.
Preheat the oven to 150C fan and bake for 11 -12 minutes. If you like you can sieve over some more icing sugar while they are still warm. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.