It is well-documented that I love almond paste and making cookies with it. It is just a quick way to chewy-cookie heaven, with a pungent dose of aromatic almond flavor thrown into the bargain.
I was watching Giada De Laurentiis make chocolate amaretti cookies on her show the other day and turns out, it's the almond paste (or "macaroon") cookies I make all the time, with a dose of cocoa thrown in. Sounds great! Of course, I need to make a chocolate version of my favorite chewy almond cookies so I got right into the kitchen to do just that.
Giada uses a food processor but I made these cookies in the stand mixer like I usually do because the mixer is sitting right on my kitchen counter whereas the heavy food processor is wedged into a corner of the pantry downstairs.
It works out just fine whichever equipment you use. It's just a matter of breaking down the almond paste with some sugar and dark cocoa in this case. Egg whites bind the whole thing together, without the need for any flour in these recipes. You could add some orange zest if you like but I kept it as is. I had a vague concern that the cocoa might mask the almond flavor too much so I tossed in a few drops of almond extract; turns out, that wasn't really necessary but a little extra almond insurance doesn't hurt as long as you don't go overboard.
I topped the cookies with a sprinkle of coarsely chopped sliced almonds for a little bit of crunch without using more sugar. These cookies are naturally sweet but they do beg for a little decoration on top. And I can tell you these chocolate amaretti cookies were delicious, being the familiar almond paste cookies I know and love. You've got a ton of sticky chewiness in every bite. The edges are just a little crisp giving way to a very chewy center. The cocoa or chocolate flavor is actually not very strong. I think it nicely tempers some of the sweetness of the almond paste and gives you a hint of cocoa but while they look dark and chocolaty, the almond flavor and chewy texture remain the star of the show. I'm very good with that.