These chocolate amaretti cookies are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free with their almond flour base. Some cocoa powder and instant espresso gives these classic Italian cookies an extra kick of flavour!
These Chocolate Amaretti Cookies are the perfect afternoon pick me up! The classic Italian amaretti cookie is taken to the next level by adding cocoa powder, instant espresso, and a crackly powdered sugar exterior.
These chocolate almond flour cookies have a soft and chewy bite with a crispy meringue-like exterior. Made from a base of almond flour, sugar, and egg whites—this classic cookie recipe is simple to make with no chilling required. The cocoa powder and instant espresso add a deep chocolate flavour with an "I can't put my finger on it" kick! From start to finish you could be enjoying some fresh amaretti in around 40 minutes.
I've never received as many compliments as I have from this recipe. And mostly from non-gluten-free folks. I think that means these are a winner! Bonus is, they're naturally gluten-free and dairy-free! Keep reading to learn how to make these delicious chocolate almond flour cookies.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- No chill time. Make the dough, bake, and enjoy! It's that easy with this recipe.
- Simple ingredients. Using pantry staples, these cookies come together quickly in just 2 bowls.
- Easily allergy-friendly. These cookies are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
- Crowd pleaser. Everyone I've served has absolutely loved these cookies. They have a unique flavour and texture. Any Italian you serve will love this twist on the classic amaretti cookie.
What are Amaretti Cookies?
Amaretti cookies are a traditional Italian cookie made from a base of almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. They are known for their soft and chewy texture, with a crisp exterior like a meringue. Amaretti are generally not too sweet, making them a classic choice for an afternoon pick me up with a cup of hot tea or espresso.
This amaretti recipe has a bit of a twist by introducing cocoa powder, instant espresso, and a crackly powdered sugar exterior. You won't be able to stop with just one!
Here is everything you'll need to make these chocolate amaretti cookies:
Almond flour: This is why it is called an amaretti cookie. Ensure you are using almond flour (from blanched almonds) instead of almond meal (from whole raw almonds). Costco generally has the best price I find.
Granulated sugar: Avoid swapping this for brown sugar, as it has extra moisture from the molasses that may impact the bake of the cookies.
Dutch processed cocoa powder: This is my go-to cocoa powder for this recipe because of its deep and neutral chocolatey flavour. You can substitute natural cocoa powder if that's all you have, but it may change the look and taste slightly, as natural cocoa powder is more acidic than dutch processed. If you want to learn more about the differences in cocoa powders, read this article from Sally's Baking Addiction.
Instant espresso powder: This one ingredient makes these cookies super special. It gives them that "I just can't put my finger on it" flavour. Ensure your instant espresso is very finely ground. I use Nescafe Gold and it's great. Omit if you wish.
Egg whites: Crack them fresh from 3 large eggs. They will whip up better than a carton of egg whites.
Almond extract and vanilla extract: These amplify the chocolate and almond flavours.
Powdered sugar: Rolling the amaretti in powdered sugar before baking gives them a wonderful crackly texture once baked. These cookies are also not overly sweet on their own, so the dusting gives them a little kick of sweetness.
There are many ways to change up these cookies depending on your mood. Here are some substitution suggestions:
- Can I make these dairy-free? These chocolate amaretti are naturally dairy-free!
- Can I make these vegan? Unfortunately, egg whites are the only liquid/binder in this cookie, making them an extremely important ingredient.
- Can I make these nut-free? These cookies rely on almond flour for their texture. Unfortunately a nut-free flour will not produce the same result.
- Espresso-free. If you don't wish to include the instant espresso, you'll still have a delicious cookie. But if you can, I highly recommend as it adds a unique flavour.
- Cocoa powder. Dutch processed cocoa powder has a deeper chocolatey flavour than natural cocoa powder. The dutch process washes the cocoa to bring its pH to neutral, whereas natural cocoa powder is slightly acidic with a lighter taste. Either will work in this recipe, it may just alter the colour and taste slightly!
Be sure to read the recipe card below for the full ingredient list and instructions for how to make chocolate amaretti cookies.
(1) Preheat the oven to 325ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, cocoa powder, instant espresso, and salt. Set aside.
(2) In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high until they reach stiff peaks, about 5-6 minutes. Then beat in the extracts.
(3) Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients. Fold until there are no dry spots and you have a smooth dough.
(4) Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop and roll 24 cookie dough balls. Roll each dough ball in a small bowl of icing sugar to completely cover the outside.
(5) Place the dusted cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-21 minutes until firm to the touch.
(6) Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy on their own or dipped in espresso.
How to Serve
These chocolate amaretti cookies are the perfect little treat for any occasion. Whether it's the holidays, you're hosting, or you're just looking for a little coffee treat—these cookies are easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. Here are some ways I like to serve them:
- Enjoy with a cookie spread. Pair with my gluten-free white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, grandma's gluten-free shortbread, banana chocolate chip cookies, and more desserts!
- With a hot tea or espresso. When dipped in a warm drink, these cookies soften into a delicious bite.
- Wrapped as a gift. Since these cookies are quite durable, staying fresh for around 2 weeks, they are the perfect cookie to give as a gift. Line a pretty box with some parchment paper, fill with cookies, wrap, and anyone is going to love to receive this!
Storage & Freezing
Storage Instructions: Cooled cookies will keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Yes, they will stay incredibly moist for that long thanks to the egg whites.
Freezing Instructions: Cooled cookies can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. To defrost, place cookies on a wire rack at room temperature for a few hours. I have not tested freezing this cookie dough before baking.
Here are some of my top tips and tricks for successful gluten-free amaretti:
- Use the recommended ingredients for best flavour! Almond flour, dutch processed cocoa powder, and finely ground instant espresso are all very important to the magical flavour of these cookies.
- Whip the egg whites for longer than you think. It can take over 6 minutes to reach stiff peaks! Test by lifting your mixer and seeing if the egg whites form...well.. stiff peaks. Then they're ready.
- Fold until there are no dry spots in the dough. Ensure the entire dough is moist. It will be quite sticky.
- Bake until firm to the touch. The bake time on these cookies may vary. Some days I bake for 18 minutes, and depending on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen, could take upwards of 20 minutes. The top and sides of the cookies will feel firm like a meringue.
- Enjoy dipped in a hot beverage. These chocolate espresso amaretti are insanely delicious all on their own, but when dipped in a hot tea or espresso, they create a delicious softened bite. Try it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Amaretti are almond flavoured Italian cookies often made from almond paste, ground almonds, or almond flour. Traditionally they do not contain any regular flour and therefore should be gluten-free.
No! The whole reason for being called an amaretti is that these cookies are made with almond flour. A starchy gluten-free all-purpose flour would absorb way too much and result in dry, bland cookies. Almond flour gives these cookies their moist and chewy texture.
No! Almond flour is the fine powder from grinding blanched and peeled almonds. Almond meal is made from grinding raw almonds, giving it a coarser texture. Note that I have only made these cookies with almond flour, but I have seem amaretti made with almond meal before.
Yes! The great thing about these cookies is that they last about 2 weeks at room temperature—which is nearly unheard of for a cookie! If you wish to freeze these amaretti, they should do well in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers for about 3 months. To thaw, place cookies on a wire rack at room temperature for a few hours. I have not tested freezing this cookie dough before baking.
If your amaretti cookies are not round and domed like in the photos, it is likely one step was missed from the recipe. Did you use all of the suggested ingredients? Did you whip your egg whites to stiff peaks? Did you bake until firm to the touch? Regardless, you'll still have a delicious cookie. But I've made these many many times and they always come out round and chewy!
These gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate espresso amaretti are chewy, light, and flavourful. No one will even question that these chocolate almond flour cookies are allergy-friendly because they're so delicious! Your guests are sure to gobble them up.
More Gluten-Free Cookies:
- Gluten-Free Almond Biscotti
- Gluten-Free Funfetti Cookies
- Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cookies
- Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies
Have you made these chocolate amaretti cookies? I'd very much appreciate it if you leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below, and tag me on instagram @fromoliviaskitchen!
Chocolate Espresso Amaretti Cookies
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- 2¼ cups almond flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon dutch processed cocoa powder can use natural cocoa powder, but may change the taste and colour of the cookies
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder ensure it is finely ground, I use Nescafe Gold
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 egg whites from 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, cocoa powder, instant espresso, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high until they reach stiff peaks, about 5-6 minutes. Then beat in the extracts.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients. Fold until there are no dry spots and you have a smooth dough.
- Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop and roll 24 cookie dough balls. The dough will be quite sticky. Roll each dough ball in a small bowl of icing sugar to completely cover the outside. Place the dusted cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-21 minutes until firm to the touch.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy on their own or dipped in espresso.
- Cocoa powder: Dutch processed cocoa powder is my recommendation for this recipe because of its deep and neutral chocolatey flavour. You can substitute natural cocoa powder if that's all you have, but it may change the appearance and taste, as natural cocoa powder is lighter and more acidic than dutch processed.
- Instant espresso: If you don't want to include it, it won't affect the bake of the cookies, but I strongly recommend it for a deliciously deep flavour.
- Storage Instructions: Cooled cookies will keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Yes, they will stay incredibly moist for that long thanks to the egg whites.
- Freezing Instructions: Cooled cookies can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. To defrost, place cookies on a wire rack at room temperature for a few hours. I have not tested freezing this cookie dough before baking.