I love almond flavoured desserts. When I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by the perfectly-shaped and decorated marzipan fruit at the local Italian bakery. I would glue my forehead to the glass window, just delighted by how closely the miniature marzipan fruit resembled the real thing. My dad would always buy me one…and I loved every almond-flavoured bite. When I last visited Sicily, I saw the most life-like frutta martorana — traditional hand-painted marzipan sweets — in the window of a bakery in Taormina. The artistry of these bakers is incredible. These soft, cake-like cookies have a very delicate almond and orange flavour. The orange glaze adds a nice citrusy pop, but you can also serve them with just a light dusting of powdered sugar.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds or almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp juice and zest from 1 orange
- 1 tsp almond extract
- one 300g container of ricotta (about 2 cups)
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tbsp orange juice
- slivered almonds, for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease baking sheets with non stick spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add the ricotta, orange juice, zest and almond extract. Mix well.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients.
- Roll the dough into balls and bake for 15 minutes. Cool cookies completely before glazing.
- To make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and the orange juice. The glaze should be fairly thick so it doesn’t just run off the cookies. If your glaze is too thin, you can thicken it up by adding a little extra powdered sugar. Use the back of a spoon or a small off-set spatula to spread the glaze over the cookies. Allow the glaze to set for at least 3 hours before storing cookies in an air-tight container.
*Yield: Approximately 30 cookies