Amaretti with honey, citrus and orange blossom


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: Makes 20

Amaretti are those gluten-free Italian cookies, or rather “macarons”, which can be hard or soft and chewy, they are usually flavored with almond extract. Perfect to go with  your tea or coffee or to offer during the festive season.

So if you have egg whites left over and you don’t know what to do with them, even if the meringue is the first thing that comes to mind.  But with a few ingredients you can make these magnificent amaretti with the subtle scent of orange blossom that goes wonderfully with lemon and orange.

I share with you this wonderful recipe, flavored with honey, citrus and orange blossom, crispy on the outside and soft “chewy” on the inside.  Enough to WOW your guests during an afternoon tea or a coffee break.

This recipe is from ottolenghi’s book “Sweet” co-authored with Helen Goh (to which I made some edits).  It’s simple and very easy to make, but it takes time to rest.  I’ll explain everything to you below.

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Amaretti with honey, citrus and orange blossom

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Serves: Makes 20

Amaretti are Italian cookies, they are gluten free. This small cookies are made with sugar, sweet and bitter almonds.
Very easy to make but which requires a rest time, from 2 hours to 2 days so that the dough is firm and easy to handle but also to develop all the aromas. In this recipe, the whites are used in Italian meringue but instead of syrup the chef has used honey.
Once baked, these cookies keep very well for up to 10 days in an airtight or iron box.

Ingredients :

  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 110 g caster sugar , ( 90g for me )
  • 1 tsp zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 tsp zest of 1 small orange , finely grated
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 60 g egg whites, (2 eggs small size) at room temperature
  • 25 g runny honey
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract (best quality), (1/4 tsp for me )
  • 1/4 tsp orange blossom water , (1/2 tsp for me)
  • 1 Tbsp candied lemon and orange peel, (personal addition)
  • 100 g flaked almonds, for rolling
  • 25 g icing sugar, for dusting

Method :

  • 1)

    Combine the almonds, sugar, lemon zest, orange zest and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

  • 2)

    Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place and whisk on a medium speed. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and just before it comes to the boil, increase the speed of the whisk to medium-high while the honey continues to boil for 30 seconds and the egg whites form soft peaks.

  • 3)

    Remove the honey from the heat and carefully pour into the egg whites, in a continuous stream, whisking all the time. When all the honey has been added, keep whisking for a minute until the meringue is fully whipped and cooled. Stop the mixer.

  • 4)

    Remove the whisk attachment and change to the paddle attachment.
    Add the almond and sugar mixture, along with the almond extract and orange blossom water. Mix until it all comes together to form a soft, pliable paste. Alternatively, use a wooden spoon or your hands to bring everything together. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and transfer to the fridge for 1 hour to firm up. The mixture will still be very soft but the chilling will help when rolling out.

  • 5)

    Once chilled, divide the mixture into four portions of about 90g each.

  • 6)

    Sprinkle a quarter of the flaked almonds on a clean work surface and roll out one piece to form a log 30cm long and 1.5cm wide, covered with almonds.

    Line a baking tray (that will fit inside your fridge) with baking parchment, and either lift the log on to the tray by hand or roll it on to a clean ruler and use that to transfer it to the tray. Continue until you have rolled all four pieces into logs, sprinkling more flaked almonds on the work surface with each batch. Place them all on the tray, cover with cling film, and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

  • 7)

    When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
    Remove the tray from the fridge and cut each log into five smaller logs, 6cm long. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and roll each piece in the icing sugar so that they are covered all over. 

  • 8)

    Spread out on the parchment-lined baking tray, spaced 2cm apart.

  • 9)

    bake for 13–15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through, until the Amaretti are golden brown but still soft. Remove from the oven and set aside on the tray for 10 minutes. These can be served warm or transferred on to a wire rack to cool and firm up before serving.

  • 10)

    Once baked, these amaretti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container (I can’t confirm that they disappeared within 48 hours).


    Enjoy !!

Tricks & Tips :

  • It is important to respect the resting time of the dough.  This will allow you to handle it easily and also to develop all the aromas.
  • I advise you to add the finely chopped candied lemon and orange peel, I have found that this makes the amaretti more chewy.
  • If your dough is too sticky and you couldn’t form your logs, even after having rested in the fridge, add a little almond powder.
  • To get the same result as in the book, I formed logs 1cm in diameter and cut into pieces 5cm long.  I had more than 20 cookies.  But you can easily form them into balls the traditional shape of Italian amaretti.
  • I recommend that you use a very good quality of almond extract and orange blossom water (no essence or orange blossom extract).
  • Watch the oven, the cooking time is given as an indication.  It says 13-15 minutes, it took me 11 minutes for my amaretti to turn golden.
  • You can make the logs ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for up to two days.
  • Once baked, they will keep well in an airtight container for up to 10 days.



  • Eleni

    03/03/2022 at 07:12

    Thank you and I had a previous recipe similar or maybe identical to this but could not find it – these do not last long – thank you again!!!

    1. 4passionfood

      03/03/2022 at 11:19

      So happy that you liked them, they’re my favourites.

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