Today on Wild Culinary Kingdom, we study the elusive Amaretti cookie. Amaretti cookies, being naturally shy, are difficult to spot in the wild. Their endangered status makes them a rare sighting indeed, especially in the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles. If you are lucky enough to find one, approach it with caution, and do not make any sudden moves or loud noises. Once you are within touching distance, quickly reach out and grab the cookie package, and purchase it immediately. You will find that these rare Italian cookies make a truly wonderful chocolate torte.
Yes, this week’s recipe was my first introduction to amaretti cookies. I traveled many a frustrating mile looking for a store that sells them, finally ending up at a random Italian deli in Burbank that carried not one, not two, but a half-dozen different brands. I decided to shell out the big bucks for the pricier, but recommended, Lazzaroni brand. I can’t say how they compare to other amaretti, but I will say that they have a really strong almond flavor and a great crunchy texture. I didn’t particularly like them on their own, but I certainly liked what they added to the cake!
This cake was, as promised, very fast to prepare. Just a few minutes in the food processor was all it took to bring the batter together. Because it was so slim, the baking time was fast, and even the process of glazing and decorating only took a few minutes.
It doesn’t have the showiness of a towering layer cake, but I think this thin, sleek cake has a certain sophistication of its own. I especially loved how shiny the glaze was, giving the top a mirror finish that really enhanced the photos. This cake is still in the running towards becoming America’s. Next. Top. Dessert.
I finished the top with a sprinkling of gold luster dust. I’ve been dying to get some gold leaf to decorate my chocolate cakes with (love that effect) but I can never bring myself to pay for it. Newsflash: gold leaf is seriously expensive! Go figure.
And the taste! I was afraid it would be way too almondy, as the cookies had almost an overpowering almond (or almond extract) taste. But I thought the balance between chocolate and almond was actually quite nice. The texture was dense and silky smooth, not too fudgy or sticky, just like a good flourless chocolate cake should be. Next time I might serve it with more whipped cream on the side, to lighten it a bit, but overall it was just about perfect.