If you’ve flipped through the latest issue of Joy the Baker Magazine, you might have noticed that I went on an Italian Christmas cookie bender. I just think there’s so much possibility in an Italian pink bakery box tied with baker’s twine and I wanted to create those possibilities for you. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite cookie from that printed cookie section but the Red Velvet Ricciarelli Cookies are the almond flour cookies towards the top of the list.
Ricciarelli are traditional Italian biscuits in the macaron family thanks to the almond flour. They also happen to be naturally gluten-free and pleasingly chewy. In the magazine I added cocoa powder and red food coloring but today I’ve gone with gingerbread spice and a glug of molasses. A holiday twist on a holiday classic!
We’re baking! Let’s go!
Here’s what you’ll need for these Gingerbread Ricciarelli (Italian Almond Flour Cookies):
• almond flour (you can use either blanched or unblanched almond flour)
• egg whites beaten to stiff peaks with a splash of lemon juice
• gingerbread spices: a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of cloves.
• vanilla extract
• baking powder and kosher salt
• powdered sugar for inside the cookies and to coat the cookies.
Start by whipped eggs whites and a small squeeze of lemon in a clean bowl until the eggs hold stiff peaks (or hold the lines of the beaters). I know we usually start with butter but that’s not the case with these cookies!
In a separate bowl, sift together almond flour, powdered sugar, and spices. Listen… I’m super lazy and I’ll avoid sifting dry ingredients at all costs but DON’T SKIP THIS SIFT! It’s important to make sure that there are no stubborn lumps in the powdered sugar especially.
Once sifted, add the egg whites to the dry ingredients two or three batches at a time. Try to maintain as much of that egg white fluff as possible. You’ll end up with a fairly thick, sticky dough. Stir in the molasses and vanilla extract.
Shape the cookies into little ovals or rounds and cover completely in powdered sugar.
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and leave the cookies uncovered at room temperature for about an hour before placing in the oven. This very important step will allow the cookies to form a crust. Just before baking, give the edges of the cookie a little pinch to help encourage the crackle as the cookie bakes.
Bake until puffed and crackled and just browned at the edges. Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature before storing them in some sort of sealing container at room temperature.
Here’s the wonder of the cookies! They’re just as good, if not EVEN BETTER, in the few days after baking. The flavor will set and the almond flour cookies will become a perfectly chewy texture. I think they thrive for up to a week – perfect for the holiday season when we need our cookies to go the mile.Print
Gingerbread Ricciarelli (Chewy Italian Almond Flour Cookies)
- Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: about 20 cookies 1x
- Category: dessert, holiday
A chewy, holiday spiced cookie that is gluten free and gets better with time!
- 2 large egg whites
- A dash lemon juice (about ¼ teaspoon)
- 2 1/4 cups (252 grams) almond flour
- 1 3/4 cups (218 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of cloves
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar for coating cookies
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites and lemon juice until stiff, foamy peaks form.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, sift in almond flour, 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, spices, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Whisk in the salt Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites in two or three batches. Try to keep some of the lightness from the egg whites though the batter will be a sticky dough. Add molasses and vanilla extract, and fold in until combined.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using clean hands, roll dough into balls about 1″ in diameter. Roll in powdered sugar until well coated. Shape into an oval, then arrange on a baking sheet with 2 inches of space between them for spreading. Flatten just slightly.
- Leave at room temperature for about an hour or until the cookies have dried out and formed a dry shell. Pre-crack the shell by squeezing the cookies slightly from opposite corners.
- While cookies are drying, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F. When the cookies are ready, bake for 14-16 minutes. Until puffed and cracked and dry across the top. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before storing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.
Made these this morning for myself (celiac) and my uncle (“gluten light” hah). These came out so good! Love the chew and the soft center and the warm spices. Used a cookie scoop to drop the 1 inch dough balls in the powdered sugar and roll them into the right shape as I coated them in the sugar,. Wish the recipe made MORE but it’s really not a difficult cookie to whip together and I’ve added this recipe to my binder!
I followed the recipe exactly. I ended up with a bowl full of dry flour/sugar mixture, It wouldn’t even hold together, much less, form a ball. Needed a lot more moisture. HELP! what did I do wrong?
We made these last night as a gift for my son’s gluten free teacher. They were easy and super yummy! I’m not sure if the consistency I got is right though. They are very soft and chewy. Should I have baked them longer to get a firmer cookie? I’ve never had them so I’m not sure what they’re normally like.
Great recipe! Mine turned out sorta the shape of BelVita. Tasted like a gingerbread macaron-cookie hybrid. I agree with previous post re reducing the sugar. I would use 1 1/2 or 1 1/4 c next time. Also to roll the cookies I dip my hands in powdered sugar and roll them instead of tossing them into a powdered sugar bath. Otherwise dough is too sticky to handle.
I love these cookies.
I did however Amp up the spices by adding more than called for.
Also, wore a pair of baking gloves, to roll the dough into balls and then into the powdered sugar.
And baked the cookies for 2-3 minutes longer.
Chewy & delicious.
I live in France and these caught my eye for a GF friend who can’t indulge in all my other cookies. But there is no molasses where I live, not even on Amazon.fr. I’d love to try the original red velvet version. Do I just exchange the spices for cocoa powder and maybe use honey instead of molasses and then add red food coloring?
These were the biggest hit at Christmas! My family loved the gingerbread flavor in a softer, chewier cookie (and GF for my husband!)
These are wonderful! You won’t need the full cup of powdered sugar to coat the cookies, maybe start with 1/2 cup?
I also substituted Aquafaba for egg whites and the cookies still ended up beautifully chewy.
I’m going to try this using aquafaba rather than egg whites to make them vegan.
If you don’t like desserts that are too sweet, I would adjust the amount of sugar in these. The spices are delicious, wonderful chewiness, love the molasses flavor too.
I tried the recipe as is, and next time I would reduce the sugar to 1 cup to 3/4 cup instead of 1 AND 3/4 cup! But that’s personal taste. Also, I don’t see how one could use a cup of powdered sugar to roll them in for coating, as I ended putting most of that back in its bag.
Loved these and will up the spices next time. The dough is very thick so it’s not really possible to do a traditional “fold” of egg whites, but smushing it all together works great. Made another batch with about 1/4 cup chopped, preserved lemon and some lemon juice instead of the molasses and spices. Delicious and versatile, not too sweet cookie.
Made these yesterday, and soooooo delicious! The next time I make them, I’ll add a tablespoon of grated orange zest to add an extra zing!
Not a baker. Not generally a fan of gingerbread. Not gluten-free. But WOW! Delicious AND easy? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Can I freeze?
Dough or finished cookies?
Not sure if you got an answer to this yet, but I made these yesterday, did a ‘before freezing’ taste test, froze a batch, thawed this morning and did an ‘after freezing’ taste test – absolutely fine. Taste was the same, which I expected, and there was no difference in texture and that was what I wondered about. Go ahead and freeze!