Vegan Amaretti: Naturally Gluten-Free



Crunchy on the outside, wonderfully chewy on the inside, these vegan amaretti biscuits are light but not insubstantial. They’re not overly sweet either. There’s very little to the recipe in terms of ingredients, not much more than almonds, sugar and aquafaba. Yet the results are so delicious, you won’t be able to resist. If you’re looking to impress the almond lovers in your life, this is the recipe for you.A tray of just baked vegan amaretti resting on a wire rack with a grey striped tea towel in the background.
I absolutely adore amaretti biscuits. In fact, they’re just the sort of cookies I’d like to find in my Christmas stocking. Just saying! But if you’re vegan or just trying to eat less dairy products, you absolutely don’t need to miss out. It’s easy to make your own vegan amaretti and they taste just as good as any other.

What Are Amaretti?

Do not confuse amaretti with amaretto. Both names, however, are derived from the same word amaro, which means bitter in Italian. Amaretti are Italian nutty biscuits (cookies). Traditionally, ground apricot kernels, sugar and egg whites make up the key ingredients, which happens to make them naturally gluten-free. Amaretto, on the other hand is an Italian liqueur derived from apricot kernels.
A grey platter piled with amaretti. Some are upside down and one has a bite taken out of it.Apricot kernels are hard to get hold of here in the UK and a lot more expensive. So most of us make homemade amaretti with ground almonds instead. Actually, there’s a very similar Italian cookie called ricciarelli, which is made with ground almonds.
You can find two types of commercial amaretti. One is soft all over and the other is completely crunchy. It all depends how long they’re baked. When it comes to baking your own, you can make them just how you like them. The best, in my opinion, is when they’re crunchy on the outside and irresistibly chewy on the inside.
For a traditional Italian experience, serve amaretti alongside a cup of coffee.
As far as I can tell, there’s not much difference between homemade almond amaretti and French macaroons. Both are delicious, though amaretti taste more like marzipan.

Do Amaretti Biscuits Contain Amaretto?

Traditionally, amaretti biscuits do not contain amaretto liqueur. However, it makes a nice touch and gives a subtle marzipan like flavour to the cookies. I like to use it in my vegan amaretti recipe.
And yes, most amaretto liqueurs are vegan friendly. I use Disaronno Amaretto which is vegan.
The almond flavour in amaretti is usually provided by a little almond extract.

Vegan Amaretti

Just like most homemade bakes, these vegan amaretti are way nicer than any commercial ones I’ve ever had. They’re crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle and have the perfect almond flavour. Some amaretti are so strong it’s hard to taste anything other than almond extract. These have a noticeable almond presence, but they don’t taste synthetic. They’re not overly sweet either.
A grey platter of homemade amaretti, with others in the background on a rack. A cake slice and grey napkin also in the image.Instead of egg white, I use chickpea water (aquafaba) in this recipe. Otherwise, the recipe is pretty much the same as the traditional version. You can’t really taste the aquafaba once the cookies are baked, though the scent is quite noticeable when you’re whipping it up.
The only other thing I’ve done differently is to use considerably less sugar than your average recipe. This means, not only to you get more of the flavour but less toothache too.
You have a choice when it comes to the almond flavour. I like to use amaretto, it makes for a more subtle almond taste. But if you prefer not to use it or just don’t have any in the house, you can use almond extract instead.
These biscuits make perfect homemade Christmas presents. You can make them a little in advance and they look really pretty. Also, almonds are expensive, so to gift almond cookies shows the recipient that they’re just a little bit special. Unlike my vegan almond cookies, I make these vegan amaretti with ground almonds and no flour.
The only trouble with this strategy is, can you stop yourself from eating the lot before ever they get near your neighbours, friends or family?
How Long Will Vegan Amaretti Keep?
If truth be told, I’ve never managed to keep a test batch of these cookies in the house for more than two days. They are just too delicious and CT snaps them up very quickly. However, if you’re gifting these vegan amaretti, I’m reliably informed that they will keep for at least a week. Just make sure you keep them well wrapped in an airtight container.
Vegan Amaretti: Step-by-Step
Other than beating the aquafaba in order to turn it into a meringue, these vegan amaretti are one of the easier biscuits to make. Double or triple the mixture to have even more amaretti in your life. You can make them in four simple steps.
Step 1. Mix Dry Ingredients
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the almonds, all but one tablespoon of the sugar, the baking powder and the salt together until they’re well combined. It’s also important there are no lumps. Don’t forget to reserve that tablespoon of sugar.
A bowl of ground almonds and sugar with balloon whisk.Step 2. Aquafaba Meringue
Pour the aquafaba into a squeaky clean bowl and add the reserved tablespoon of sugar. If the bowl is in any way greasy, the aquafaba won’t whisk into a meringue. The sugar helps to stabilise the meringue once it’s whisked.
A bowl of aquafaba meringue with whisks.Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, whisk the aquafaba and sugar on a medium high speed until firm peaks form. This usually takes about five minutes. If you turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays put, you know it’s done.
Top Tip
You can freeze any leftover aquafaba in ice cube trays or little tubs for up to three months.
Step 3. Combine The Two
Fold the meringue into the almond mixture along with the amaretto or almond extract. Mix until everything is just combined into a soft dough. A large metal spoon is best for this.
Aquafaba meringue in a bowl of mixed ground almonds and sugar.The dough will be slightly sticky and that’s fine. But it shouldn’t be wet. If it’s really soft, place it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. Otherwise, the amaretti might go flat when they’re in the oven. My kitchen is quite cool in the colder months, so my cookie dough needs no further chilling.
Vegan amaretti biscuit dough in a glass bowl.Step 4. Roll Into Balls
Sift some icing sugar (powdered sugar) into a wide flat bottomed bowl. Although you won’t need more than two tablespoons of icing sugar to coat the dough balls, I work with three tablespoons. Having a bit more than you need makes the process easier.
Balls of vegan amaretti cookie dough in a bowl of icing sugar.Take about 1 ½ teaspoons of the amaretti dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. As the mixture is slightly sticky, roll them as quickly as you can. The balls don’t have to be perfect.
Drop the balls into the bowl of icing sugar and roll them around until they’re well covered.
Step 5. Bake
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the dough balls well apart on the baking tray. They will flatten a little as they bake, but should still be nice and chunky.
Vegan amaretti dough balls on a lined baking sheet.Bake in the middle of your preheated oven for twenty minutes or until the amaretti are just starting to turn golden.
blankLeave on the tray for a couple of minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Top Tip
To avoid the bottoms browning too much, use two baking trays of the same size stacked on top of each other.
If you prefer crunchier amaretti, then bake the biscuits for a further five to ten minutes. But do remember, they will firm up as they cool.

Vegan Amaretti: Change It Up

Personally, I think these vegan amaretti are perfect just as they are. But if you’d like to change things up a bit, here are a few suggestions.
Add the zest of an organic lemon for an additional and complementary flavour.Swap the amaretto or almond extract for orange juice and grate in some zest.Omit the amaretto or almond extract and use a few drops of rose oil instead.For chocolate vegan amaretti, add one to two tablespoons of cocoa powder to the almond mixture.Swap half the ground almonds for ground pistachios or hazelnuts.Bake for a further five to ten minutes for crunchy all over amaretti.
Classic Amaretti Recipe
If you’re not vegan and happy to use egg whites, swap the aquafaba with the egg white from one large egg. Otherwise, follow the recipe as is.
Vegan Amaretti As Gifts
Pack amaretti into glass jars, decorative tins or boxes lined with greaseproof paper. Then tie with twine or festive ribbons and label. Add a candy cane for an extra touch of Christmas cheer.
A pretty plate, bowl or cup piled with biscuits makes a particularly lovely present. Though you’ll need to wrap it in something to seal in the freshness. I hesitate to say plastic.
Or for something even more special, wrap the vegan amaretti individually in small squares of greaseproof paper or coloured tissue paper. Twist the ends to close and seal.
Top Tip
Charity shops are great places to find glass jars, plates, bowls or cups.

What To Do With Leftover Chickpeas?

If you’re opening a tin of chickpeas especially to get the aquafaba, you may be wondering what to do with the actual chickpeas. Here are a few recipes that might help you out.

Other Recipes for Edible Vegan Gifts You Might Like

And for even more ideas from me and other food bloggers, head over to my round-up post of homemade edible gifts.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you bake a batch of these vegan amaretti, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #nanorecetas, so I can spot them.
For more delicious and nutritious recipes follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly newsletter.
If you’d like more vegan recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious and nutritious, of course.
Choclette x
Vegan Amaretti. PIN IT.
A grey platter of homemade amaretti, with others in the background on a rack. A cake slice and grey napkin also in the image. Text box reads "chewy & crunchy vegan amaretti".

Vegan Amaretti – The Recipe

A tray of just baked vegan amaretti resting on a wire rack with a grey striped tea towel in the background. Print
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Vegan Amaretti

Crunchy on the outside, wonderfully chewy on the inside, these vegan amaretti are light but not insubstantial. They’re naturally gluten-free and not overly sweet either. If you’re looking to impress the almond lovers in your life, this is the recipe for you.Prep Time20 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time40 minsCourse: Afternoon Tea, SnackCuisine: ItalianKeyword: almonds, aquafaba, biscuits, Christmas, cookies, gifts, veganServings: 20 cookiesCalories: 56kcalAuthor: Choclette @ Tin and ThymeIngredients125 g ground almonds although I normally grind my own almonds, shop bought is better for these as you want something that’s finely and evenly ground.80 g golden caster sugar½ tsp baking powderpinch fine sea salt (I use Himalayan pink rock salt)50 ml (3 tbsp) aquafaba (I use chickpea water)2 tsp amaretto or ½ tsp almond extract2 tbsp icing sugar to coat I use 3 tbsp so there’s plenty in the bowl, but there’s always quite a bit left over.InstructionsIn a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the almonds, all but 1 tbsp of sugar, baking powder and salt together.Pour the aquafaba into a squeaky clean bowl and add the reserved tablespoon of sugar. If the bowl is in any way greasy, the aquafaba won’t whisk into a meringue. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, whisk the aquafaba and sugar on a medium high speed until firm peaks form. This usually takes about five minutes. If you turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays put, you know it’s done.Fold the meringue into the almond mixture along with the amaretto or almond extract.Set the oven to 160℃ (140℃ fan, 320℉, Gas 3).Line a baking tin with baking paper. If you have another tin of the same size, tuck it underneath the first one. This will help prevent the bottoms from browning too much.Sift the icing sugar into a wide flat bottomed bowl.Take teaspoonfuls of the amaretti mixture, roll it quickly between your hands to form a ball shape. The dough is a little sticky, but it shouldn’t be wet. Drop the balls into the bowl of icing sugar and roll them around until well covered.Place slightly apart on the baking tray. They will flatten a little as they bake, but should still be nice and chunky.Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the amaretti are just starting to turn golden around the edges.Leave on the tray for a couple of minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.NotesIf the dough is too sticky and soft to roll, place in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. Otherwise, the amaretti might go completely flat when they’re in the oven.Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They’re approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.NutritionCalories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg Tried this recipe?Please take a photo and mention @choclette8 or tag #nanorecetas on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

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I’m sharing this recipe for vegan amaretti curry with Sew White for #CookBlogShare.


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