Cruncy and golden amaretti biscuits

Amaretti biscuits and scorching summers

I have a cookery book which I often consult for recipe ideas. But more so, it also holds scraps of paper with handwritten recipes that I have gathered over the years.

These are recipes from my family that have been tried and tested, or should I say tasted, many times.

As I was rummaging through these, I came across the amaretti biscuit recipe and this reminded me of the very first time I went to pick almonds.

I ricordi

Isn’t it interesting how one moment in the present can suddenly bring back memories of a long time ago.

I was only a child at the time, and zia Angelina invited me to go and help pick almonds from nonna’s orchard. I had picked peaches, apricots and cherries before, but never almonds, so I was curious. 

My dad was driving, and we set off  on a late summer day; it was scorching hot. I remember how the car seat would stick to my bare legs.

When we got to the orchard, I saw lines of trees, over a ground that was quite uneven and covered in burnt out grass and the occasional weeds.

I soon regretted wearing shorts: as I walked across, my legs would get pricked by the sharp, withered stems.

We were carrying huge baskets and I was told to pick the almonds that were on the ground below the trees. 

Zia and dad started to hit and shake the branches with two long sticks and I was supposed to gather the almonds and place them in the baskets.

I started to have second thoughts. Perhaps this wasn’t the adventure I had imagined…

My shoulders and neck were sizzling under the sun, not to mention the sound of buzzing bees and flies around me. Didn’t they have somewhere else to go?

Anyway, I did as I was told. And as the baskets became heavier, my dad would carry them from tree to tree, and I would follow and fill them up.

On the way home that day, random thoughts crossed my mind. The likes of: “I don’t even like almonds!” or “Why can’t chocolates grow in trees?” or “I could’ve read a whole Zagor comic instead.”

So, little Martina didn’t really understand the value of almond picking.

It was only some time later, when zia Angelina decided to bake some Sardinian sweets that I started to get it.

As she was mixing the ground almonds to make amaretti biscuits, she explained that those were the same almonds we had picked together.

She laughed as she said: “You looked so bored that day! But see now, how all the work we did is paying off.”

She was right.

I am sure that by now you will want to try and make some amaretti yourself. And, without further ado, here's zia Angelina's amaretti recipe

I should also mention that if you avoid wheat in your diet, amaretti are just great because they’re gluten-free. Not bad, hey?

It’s easy to get side-tracked by food (especially when you’re Italian), but let’s not forget that my blog is also about having fun as you learn Italian.

So, since we’re talking of sweets, and biscuits, and desserts, here comes a quiz right on that topic!

Quiz on Italian sweets and desserts

Let's see if you’re familiar with the various Italian treats mentioned in this quiz, and whether you get all the answers right. You can try the quiz here.

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