‘Caprilu’ Almond Cookies with Lemon

Nothing draws a crowd like the alluring smell of freshly cooked waffle-cones, which is how the pasticceria Buonocore in Capri stays packed with gelato-craving tourists at all hours of the day and night.  I’m not much one for lines, so while Dr. France held the fort for my cono di stracciatella, I perused the shop seeking photos and samples of their other local flavors.  Enticed to buy some familiar looking almond cookies labeled “Caprilu Limone”, I was completely blown away by the crisp, sugar dusted exterior, with a chewy, lemony-marzipan center.  Made with almonds, honey and lemons for that quintessential Italian citrus goodness, the little morsels go perfectly with a chilled shot of the other island specialty: limoncello.  Needless to say, Buonocore wasn’t handing out their recipe, however after some testing on the home-front, I’ve come up with my best version to bring a bite of the Amalfi coast to your kitchen… and as an added bonus, they’re gluten-freeBuonissimo!

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Makes 30-35 cookies

 

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 pinch salt

½ cup (100g) sugar

4 cups (320g) almond flour

¼ cup (90g) honey

juice of 2 lemons (50g)

zest of 3 lemons

½ tsp. almond extract

½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

¾ cup (75g) sliced blanched almonds

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Technique:

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
  • Whisk egg whites and salt until soft peaks form; sprinkle in sugar and continue to whisk to firm peaks.  Use a spatula or the paddle attachment to fold almond flour into the whites.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except confectioner’s sugar, and combine thoroughly.

  • Cookies can be spooned individually onto a sil-pat, or rolled into a log and cut for more uniform shapes.  For the latter, lay out a long piece of plastic film and sprinkle a horizontal line of confectioner’s sugar across the center.  Add the cookie dough along the line, fold the plastic over and roll it into a long tube, 1 ½” in diameter.  Unwrap the plastic, sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into 1 ½” pieces and arrange on a sil-pat.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until edges are crisp and golden.  Cool completely before removing and dust with additional confectioner’s sugar.  Store in a sealed container up to 4 days.

    • Variations: Having tested and adjusted this recipe a handful of times, I must admit that each version made a great batch of cookies, so feel free to adjust according to your preferences.  Here are a few suggestions…
    • For a looser, more lemony cookie: add the juice of a third lemon and spoon them out onto the silpat with slightly more room between each for spreading.
    • For a firmer, crustier cookie: (still just as moist in the center) mix 1/2 cup sugar together with the almond flour instead of honey.

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