Amaretti is strictly translated as "little bitters," but colloquially it refers to light, airy, crunchy, dome-shaped almond cookies. The cookies are great on their own, but I also love them as an ingredient in a cake; the soft cake batter and the crunchy cookie provide a wonderful contrast. So when you can't decide whether to have cookies or cake, just have both.

ingredients

  • Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup (about 2 ounces) baby amaretti cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from approximately 1 orange)
  • 4 large eggs
  • About 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting

directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and refrigerate.

2. In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. In a food processor, combine the almonds and cookies, and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Add the butter, sugar and orange zest to the processor and blend until creamy and smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time. Add the nut mixture and the melted chocolate. Pulse until blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sift the cocoa powder over and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter 2005. All rights reserved.

RecID 11260

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