Abambar Recipe
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Abambar Recipe

Jul 11, 2023

By Leah Koenig

The moment my plane lands in Rome, I make a beeline to Pasticceria il Boccione, the 200-​year old kosher bakery located in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood. If I’m lucky, they are still stocked with amaretti—​sweet, almondy dough piped into chubby swirls and baked until crisped on top and chewy within. Rome’s Libyan Jews fancy a similar cookie, abambar, which is made from essentially the same ingredients but rolled and pressed into rounds and topped with almonds, rather than piped. Both versions have become go-​to Passover desserts for my family, as well as year-​round additions to our cookie jar.

This recipe was excerpted from 'Portico' by Leah Koenig. Buy the full book on Amazon.

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Almond Extract

$10 $9 At Amazon

Blanched Almond Flour

$16 $15 At Amazon

Raw Almonds

$24 At Amazon

Makes about 20 cookies

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the egg whites, sugar, almond extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Or use a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until the sugar dissolves. Beat in the almond flour in two stages, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a dough the texture of soft almond paste forms.

Using lightly moistened or oiled hands, scoop out rounded tablespoons of the dough, roll them into balls, and place them on the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Using the tip of your finger, gently press the center of each cookie, flattening it slightly and leaving an indentation. Gently press an almond into each indentation.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets back to front and top to bottom halfway through baking, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden on top. (The bottoms will be a few shades darker.) Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. The cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For swirled amaretti, follow the recipe through the second step, adding 1 additional egg white to the dough. Transfer the dough to a pastry piping bag fit with a star tip and pipe into 1-inch-wide swirled mounds on the baking sheets. Omit the decorative almonds. Bake as directed.

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