Ricciarelli – A recipe from Medieval Siena

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Ricciarelli from SienaRicciarelli are a traditional Italian type of biscuit. Legend tells that Ricciardetto della Gherardesca introduced them in Medieval Siena when he came back from the Crusades.

During the cookery classes of our cooking vacation in Italy, our chefs make Ricciarelli following this recipe!


12 ounces of peeled, toasted almonds. To peel, toast first, then rub in clean dish cloth until most of the skin is removed.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioner’s or icing sugar
1 TBS. grated orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla
2 egg whites, beaten
2 dozen rounds of rice paper


Ground the almonds to a powder, then add all of the granulated sugar, and half the confectioner’s sugar. Add the orange peel and vanilla, mix, and then gently fold in the beaten egg whites, just a bit at a time to avoid deflating them. Your mixture should be a smooth, soft paste.
Place approximately a largish teaspoon of the mixture on each rice paper round, and shape it into a boat or diamond shape. Dust with the remaining powdered sugar and leave the Ricciarelli overnight.
Bake in a slow oven, set around 300 degrees F, for 15 to 20 minutes. You actually want to dry the cookies, rather than really bake them. Remove them before they brown, place on a wire rack, and dust with a little more confectioner’s sugar.


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