or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.
Amaretti Biscuits were more commonly known as Ratafias back in Nana Ling’s day, the early 1900s.
And Ratafia Biscuits go all the way back to at least the 1700s!
There’s a good reason they’ve been around so long. They are one of the easiest and most delicious biscuits you’ll ever cook up.
Sweet, but not too sweet. Crunchy with a hint of chewiness. And that distinctive almond amaretto flavour.
Yum. Yum. Yum.
Why were they called Ratafias?
Ratafia is a liqueur flavoured with almonds or the kernels of peaches, apricots, or cherries.
Amaretto, which goes into the Amaretti Biscuits, is a type of ratafia that is generally made in Italy. Although it has an almond flavour, it’s actually made with apricot pits or almonds or both.
While ratafia is mentioned a lot in early recipes from the UK, it seems Australia is now more familiar with Amaretti biscuits.
Whatever you call them, Amaretti Biscuits or Ratafia Biscuits, they are a brilliant little treat.
Recipe for Amaretti Biscuits
I’ve borrowed from an assortment of early recipes to create this super easy one you’ll find in the recipe card below.
A special mention goes to the “Easy Ratafias” recipe from the 1970s Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook which contained a surprise ingredient that you may not expect in a biscuit recipe.
Which ingredient is it? I’m sure you’ll spot the odd one out below.
Amaretti Biscuits ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up a batch of 30 of these beauties:
- egg whites
- caster sugar (or white/granulated sugar)
- desiccated coconut
- dry instant mash potato flakes (Deb or other brand) – yes, you read that one correctly!
- vanilla extract
- Amaretto liqueur
- split blanched almond halves (or almond flakes).
Making Amaretti Biscuits
It will take you mere minutes to get these in the oven, and then just 15 minutes to bake off.
First, pre-heat oven to 10 degrees below moderate (170 degrees celsius, fan-forced).
Grease two baking trays and then beat egg whites and salt until stiff.
Gradually add the sugar while beating on low-medium speed and then beat again on high speed for 2 minutes.
Next, fold in the coconut, dry instant mash potato flakes, vanilla extract and Amaretto liqueur.
Place teaspoonfuls of mixture on greased baking trays.
Top with piece of split almond or a few almond flakes.
Now it’s into the oven to bake for just 15 minutes or until a golden brown colour.
Cool on the tray for 10 minutes before using a spatula to lift biscuits onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Want more old-fashioned biscuits recipes?
Check out the Cooking with Nana Ling Biscuits collection here.
- 2 egg whites
- pinch salt
- 1 cup caster sugar (or white/granulated sugar)
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup dry instant mash potato flakes (Deb or other brand)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons Amaretto liqueur
- 30 split blanched almond halves (or almond flakes)
- Pre-heat oven to 10 degrees below moderate (170 degrees celsius, fan-forced).
- Grease two baking trays.
- Beat egg whites and salt until stiff.
- Gradually add sugar while beating on low-medium speed and then beat again on high speed for 2 minutes.
- Fold in coconut, dry instant mash potato flakes, vanilla extract and Amaretto liqueur.
- Place teaspoonfuls of mixture on greased baking tray. Top with piece of split almond or a few almond flakes.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden brown colour.
- Cool on tray for 10 minutes before using a spatula to lift biscuits onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Sunday 1st of May 2022
Can I substitute the instant potato? Thanks for sharing Helen
Sunday 1st of May 2022
Hi Helen - you could try substituting with tapioca flour, rice flour, arrowroot or extra coconut. I haven't tried any of these myself so do let me know in the comments if you give one of these a go. Thanks! Libby