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These Vegan Amaretti Biscuits are naturally gluten free so it was silly of me not to share the recipe now that I’ve mastered the art of egg free Amaretti. The answer to your egg-free conundrum is aquafaba. The humble chickpea bath water!
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What are Amaretti Biscuits made of?
Normally, the traditional Amaretti biscuit is made of egg white, ground almond, sugar and a stabiliser (normally cream of tartar). Some variations can be found to use almond flour (yes, this is a flour and not the same thing as ground almonds) or even apricot kernel flour.
The topic of apricot kernel flour took me down a fascinating tunnel during my research. It turns out that the kernels of apricots (the seed inside the apricot stone) are high in antioxidents and are used as an alternative to bitter almond (almonds with their skins still on and not blanched). But then I read that bitter almonds are not permitted in the US as they are deemed as poisonous.
Apricot kernels are in fact also poisonous if you ingest lots of them, it was at this point that I remembered a murder in one of Agatha Christie’s novels where the victim was poisoned with apricot! Fear not though, the amounts in Amaretti are well below danger levels. Maybe that’s where the saying ‘risk it for a biscuit came from? – I jest!
Getting back to the recipe, this does make Amaretti naturally gluten free so high five to the Italians once again for an delicious authentic safe treat. But for those of us who have egg allergies or intolerances, the Amaretti is a serious no-no. Until now that is.
Do Amaretti contain alcohol?
No. Amaretti do not traditionally contain alcohol. Again, I went off in search of the contrary after reading several recipe developers and bloggers say that yes, Amaretti do contain alcohol. This simply isn’t true as far as mass produced packaged Amaretti are concerned. Not a single one I looked at had booze in them.
I’m happy to be corrected and if you have fond memories of your Nonna adding a splash of liqueur to her recipe then I beg you to comment below as I genuinely love to hear about peoples food memories.
Now that I’ve said there’s no alcohol in Amaretti, I’ve gone and given you the option to add some if you like. It all boils down to different tastes. I do love a Bakewell, frangipani, marzipan flavour so if I can pimp these biscuits to increase that flavour explosion I will. I know, I know, hangs head in shame.
Are Amaretti gluten free?
I’ve already touched on this but yes, Amaretti are naturally gluten free. The only thing you might want to consider if making these yourself is to ensure the ingredients are free from may contains. This is especially relevant if buying ingredients in bulk from health stores of wholesalers as ground nuts, flours, seeds could all be produced and packaged on the same line.
Are these biscuits dairy free?
Yes, these and 99.9% of Amaretti are dairy free. I did come across one bizarre list of ingredients by none other than Sainsbury’s when I was researching Amaretti. For some reason, only known to them, they have shoved WHEAT flour and MILK powder in their Amaretti along with the traditional ingredients. It was quite baffling.
How to make egg free Amaretti biscuits
Now, the reason you’re here. How do you make Traditional flavour Amaretti but without the EGG. It can’t be done (my imaginary heckler there).
Yes you can make Amaretti egg free by using aquafaba and trust in the process.
What is aquafaba?
So what is aquafaba? Simply speaking it’s the left over liquid in a tin of chickpeas. Basically, when chickpeas are canned in production, they are submerged in water. The time the chickpeas spend in the water turns the liquid into a rich starchy biproduct called aquafaba. This chickpea water can then be used to whip up into a froth.
By whipping the aquafaba you trap air bubbles in the slightly slimy liquid and this can imitate egg whites.
There is an issue with retaining this structure however, so this is why you must add a stabiliser such as cream of tartar. This will increase the whipped aquafaba volume and improve its stability making it something you can work with in baking and cold desserts such as vegan mousses.
How to whip aquafaba?
My best advice starts with the same advice for normal egg whites. Make sure you have a clean bowl, ideally metallic like a Kenwood Mixer ,I always wipe my bowl down with a bit of kitchen roll dipped in lemon juice.
Next you whip the aquafaba on a high speed with a little cream of tartar (this can be done by hand but my goodness you’ve picked the difficult path!).
Aquafaba is an off white transparent liquid. The whipped aquafaba is also an off white creamy colour. You want this creamy colour to go as pale as you possible can. The whiter is goes, the better the results. I cannot stress enough, this takes ages.
How to roll and coat your Amaretti
I use the two spoon method to scoop and scrape walnut size balls of Amaretti dough into a powdery bed of icing sugar and then gently roll the Amaretti into a ball. These are very delicate and squidgy so be careful.
Other recipes you can make with Aquafaba
Vegan Amaretti Biscuits Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Vegan Amaretti Biscuits
- 100 ml aquafaba
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 250 g ground almonds
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp almond liqueur optional
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 100 g icing/confectioners sugar to roll the amaretti
- Preheat the oven to 170°C | 150°C fan | 325°F | Gas mark 3
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- TOP TIP: to achieve the best whipped aquafaba, clean your bowl with lemon juice or white vinegar, simply add a few drops and give the bowl a wipe around with a clean paper towel.
- In a clean mixing bowl, whisk up the aquafaba and cream of tartar. This can take 5-10 minutes to get the right consistency, you need your aquafaba to turn from a yellow tinge to white.
- Add the caster sugar one spoon at a time whilst still whisking until the meringue base is lovely and glossy.
- Next add the ground almonds, amaretto (if using) and almond extract and fold until fully combined. You'll end up with a sticky mess. Don't worry if it looks like all the air has been knocked out, this is normal.
- Scoop dessert spoons of the mixture and drop them into a bowl of icing sugar. Once covered, your amaretti dough will be easier to handle and roll into a ball.
- This is enough mixture to make 20 balls the size of walnuts. Place 10 on each tray, they don't spread much, and place in the oven for 20 mins.
- Remove from oven once slightly golden and puffed up with familiar cracks. Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before removing, they are still fragile when warm.
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