Caramel-Stuffed Amaretti Cookies

published Nov 27, 2022
Caramel-Stuffed Amaretti Cookie Recipe

Store-bought soft caramels make the process for these caramel-stuffed amaretti cookies surprisingly simple. Bonus: they're gluten-free.

Makes16 (2 1/2-inch) cookies

Prep15 minutes

Cook22 minutes to 30 minutes

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caramel stuffed cookie on slate surface
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

This recipe is a part of Secret Family Cookies — a dozen recipes from our favorite bakers, inspired by the people who make them feel at home. Get all the amazing cookies here.

Walking into my childhood home anytime between early November and New Year’s Day was like stepping into a caramel factory. Pots of bubbling sugar would be on the stove, wrapping stations were set up with paper strewn about, and the distinct scent of buttery, burnt sugar would perfume every room. My mother ran a candy business out of our house so she could stay home and raise me and my sister. Her caramels became a hit sensation in the surrounding neighborhoods. People would order pounds of them to give to loved ones during the holidays.

Because of this, I quickly associated the colder months with my mom’s caramels. Our entire family would help out however we could: wrapping individual candies, tying gold ribbon around baggies, etc. Afterward, we would gather around the kitchen eating the caramel scraps and listening to music. These moments became somewhat of a holiday tradition for my family — one that I looked forward to every year.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

Now, whenever I smell or eat caramel, I can’t help but think of my mom and her famous candies. This cookie — a classic amaretti stuffed with store-bought caramels — is an ode to my mom and everything she did to support my sister and me. And while her caramel recipe is untouchable and far too precious to ever give away, these cookies are a delicious treat in their own right.

Caramel-Stuffed Amaretti Cookie Recipe

Store-bought soft caramels make the process for these caramel-stuffed amaretti cookies surprisingly simple. Bonus: they're gluten-free.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 22 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes 16 (2 1/2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups

    almond flour

  • 1 3/4 cups

    granulated sugar, divided, plus more as needed

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 3 large

    egg whites

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 16

    soft caramel candies, such as Kraft

Instructions

  1. Place 2 1/3 cups almond flour, 1 cup of the granulated sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Place 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a second medium bowl.

  2. Place 3 large egg whites and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more.

  3. Transfer the egg whites into the almond flour mixture and mix with a flexible spatula until a thick dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  4. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 325°F. Meanwhile, unwrap, knead, and roll 16 soft caramel candies into 16 smooth balls. If the caramels are too firm to roll into balls, arrange them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 20 seconds until the caramels are warm, then try rolling them again. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  5. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, scoop out the dough into a 2 heaping tablespoon-sized portion. Drop directly into the bowl of granulated sugar (this will make it easier to work with since the dough is sticky) and roll into a ball. Place 1 caramel in the center of the dough ball and form the dough around it to completely seal; roll into a smooth ball. (If the dough is too sticky to work with, sprinkle some granulated sugar in your hands.)

  6. Place in the powdered sugar and toss to evenly coat all over. Shake the dough ball above the bowl of powdered sugar to remove any excess. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat stuffing and coating the remaining dough, spacing the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, 8 per sheet.

  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies are cracked and just starting to brown, 10 to 14 minutes more. Let cool for at least 20 minutes on the baking sheets before serving, as the caramel will be very hot. (It’s best to cut one open and test it before biting into it to prevent burning yourself.)

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough balls can be stuffed with caramel, rolled in the sugars, and frozen solid on a baking sheet. Store in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen.

Storage: Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.