Amaretti Cookies with Chocolate Orange Ganache

These are now my favorite cookies.  Au revoir peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip, ginger, molasses, you do not hold a candle to these. Oh, and for soo many reasons.  In order to make a chocolate chip cookie, you must go through the process of creaming butter, mixing dry ingredients, good gracious, it’s just too much!  Actually, the time I spend making chocolate cookies I rarely find to be a waste of time, but chocolate chip cookies have always, since the beginning of time, bored me.  I would never choose them from a cookie platter, make them of my own accord, or really do much with them.  I just enjoy the process, no matter what I’m doing.

These cookies are not your standard cookie like the ones mentioned above.  They are perfumed with almond, and the orange ganache complements the strong almond flavor nicely.  Oh, and I almost forgot, these are obviously gluten-free, and without the ganache, they are dairy free, so everyone’s happy!

Now, I have been faced with a conundrum of late, something called the swimming-homework-cooking trio.  Swimming is not beneficial to either homework or cooking.  Homework is not beneficial to cooking, and if I do get in any cooking at all, it takes away the time when, well, I should be doing other things, mainly…shopping for presents.  Yes, it is true, I have to do the ALL of my shopping tomorrow.  It will be a feat if I accomplish it.

The one present I did get bought I wrapped with painstaking precision, because I felt as though I had to relish every moment when I was doing things related to Christmas.  I mean, when you’ve only got a few moments in the day for this you might as well cherish them.  But of course, I’m really just looking forward to my favorite event of all, which is cooking on Saturday!

Amaretti Cookies with Chocolate Orange Ganache
Cookie recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2009
Ganache recipe from nowhere in particular

1 (7-ounce) tube pure almond paste (not marzipan; 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes (I didn’t let them get to room temperature and they worked out fine)

The original recipe says you can use a pastry bag with a 3/8 inch tip to form the cookies.  I just used a spoon, and though they look a little rustic, they taste fine.

Preheat oven to 300°F and adjust racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, place almond paste and sugar.  When not quite smooth add the egg whites and continue to process until smooth.  Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the pans so that each round is about 3/4 inch in diameter and about an inch apart.  Dipping your finger into water, flatten out the tops of the cookies.  They should be about 1/3 of an inch tall.

Bake for 15-18 minutes so that the cookies are golden.  Switch the pans half way through cooking, and rotate each pan as well so there also they are evenly cooked.

Then while still hot, take and one mit and one of the pans.  Set the pan in the sink at an angle and grasp the parchment paper.  Then pour 1/4 cup of water between the parchment paper and the pan.  Repeat with the remaining pan.  Set the pans on a cooling rack.

When cookies are cool take a spatula and remove from pans, then spread with a thin layer of ganache.

Chocolate Orange Ganache
Zest of half a large naval orange
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream (probably more, it is an estimate)
Melt chocolate over low heat until alomst melted.  Add the cream and whisk gently until the chocolate is almost fully melted.  Remove from heat and whisk until smooth.  Add the orange zest and mix gently so that the cocoa solids do not separate.


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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!