Amaretti is the Italian name for macaroons, which means little bitter things. These small, domed-shaped cookies that are crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft inside, originated in Venice Italy during the Renaissance period. In the early 18th century, a Milanese bishop or cardinal surprised the town of Saronno with a visit. A young couple, residents of the town, welcomed him and paid tribute with an original confection: on the spur of the moment, they had baked biscuits made of sugar, egg whites, and crushed apricot kernels or almonds. These so pleased the visiting bishop that he blessed the two with a happy and lifelong marriage, resulting in the preservation of the secret recipe over many generations. Traditionally these cookies were served with a sweet dessert wine or liqueur, but they are also a wonderful accompaniment to a bowl of ice cream, sherbets, or mousses. Another favorite way to use these cookies is to finely grind them and then add them to desserts (such as trifles) for added texture and flavor.
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