Ricciarelli (Tuscan Almond Cookies) Recipe

Hand a pastry chef almond flour, sugar, and egg whites, and you'll likely be able to work out where he is from by what he bakes. In France, you might end up with a plate of perfectly domed macarons; in Siena, Italy, you'd likely be served ricciarelli. These oval-shaped almond cookies are thought to have been developed in the 14th century in the Tuscan region of Italy, and at the time were reserved for only the most wealthy to consume at the finest banquets; almond paste was so precious and costly that it was sold only at apothecaries along with the most expensive spices.

Thankfully, almond-based produce is far more accessible these days, allowing us all to bake and enjoy these delicious Italian cookies ourselves without breaking the bank. Soft, sweet cookies made with almond flour and rolled in confectioner's sugar before baking, you will be able to recognize a ricciarello by its characteristic cracks dramatically streaked across its powder-coated surface. This recipe, developed by Jennine Rye, infuses orange with the classic almond flavor of the dessert to create a delectable sweet treat.

Gather the ingredients for this Ricciarelli (Tuscan Almond Cookies) Recipe

To make these ricciarelli, first you will need to gather the ingredients. You will require almond flour, confectioners sugar, flour, orange zest, almond flavoring, and egg whites. These ricciarelli can easily be made gluten-free by either replacing the spoonful of plain flour with more almond flour, or with a replacement gluten-free baking flour. 

Prepare the ricciarelli dough

To prepare the dough for these orange and almond ricciarelli, first you will want to combine the almond flour, the confectioner's sugar, the flour, orange zest, and almond extract in a medium-sized bowl. Use a balloon whisk to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Then, using a stand mixer or handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites in a clean, oil-free bowl, until they form stiff peaks. Then, simply fold the egg whites into the almond mixture until a dough has formed. Cover the dough and place it to one side for at least 2 hours, preferably a day. Traditionally, these cookies were left for up to two days before baking.

Bake the ricciarelli

Once the dough has sat and rested, allowing the delicious almond and orange flavors to develop, it is time to bake the cookies. Prepare a baking tray and add confectioner's sugar to a bowl. Then, roll the dough into a log shape and cut evenly-sized cookies from the log. Shape them into the classic oval shape of the ricciarello if you choose, and then place them into the bowl containing the confectioner's sugar and make sure they are throughly coated.

Place the formed cookies onto the prepared baking tray and bake them in the oven until cracks form on the surface; this should only take about 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven at this point and allow them to cool.

Serve the ricciarelli

The cookies will be exceptionally soft when they first come out from the oven but will harden a little as they cool. Allow them to cool completely before serving them, and store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Rye points out that these orange and almond-flavored ricciarelli are a wonderful sweet treat option to offer guests and also make a thoughtful and delicious homemade gift. Traditionally served with dessert wine, those who avoid alcohol will be glad to hear that they pair equally well with coffee and tea.

Ricciarelli (Tuscan Almond Cookies) Recipe
5 from 80 ratings
This recipe for ricciarelli, almond cookies that hail from Tuscany, infuses a burst of bright orange zest for a twist on the Italian dessert's classic flavors.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Orange flavored ricciarelli
Total time: 37 minutes
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • 1 ⅔ cups confectioner's sugar, divided, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour with 1 ⅓ cups of sifted confectioner's sugar, the plain flour, the orange zest, and the almond flavoring.
  2. Using a stand mixer or an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the almond flour mixture, until a dough has formed. Cover the dough and leave it for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 F and prepare a large baking tray with a non-stick mat or baking paper, and add the remaining ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar in a bowl.
  4. Lightly dust a clean surface with confectioner's sugar and then, using your hands, roll the dough out into a log. Using a sharp knife, gently cut cookies from the log, roughly ⅓ to ½ inch thick.
  5. If you would like, shape the cookies into a rough oval shape (the classic shape of the ricciarello), and then coat them well on both sides with the confectioner's sugar in the bowl.
  6. Place the finished cookies on the prepared baking sheet, and then bake them for 12 minutes until the surfaces are cracked. Leave the cookies to cool completely before serving.
Calories per Serving 178
Total Fat 10.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 14.7 g
Sodium 6.9 mg
Protein 5.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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