Grandma’s Italian Almond Macaroons


These Italian Almond Macaroons are an old family recipe passed on from my Italian grandmother that she made for years and years.  This would be a great cookie for any holiday, but we have them every year at Christmas as they are a legacy in our family.

Grandmas-Almond-Macaroons-Cookie-Recipe for Christmas or any holiday

This is an old family recipe passed on from Mr. Wishes Italian grandmother that her and her Italian friend, Ruth, made for years and years.  I meant to share it at Christmas time and things got too busy and it slipped my mind!  This would be a great cookie for any holiday, but we have them every year at Christmas.  I hope I did this almond macaroon recipe justice because it is a legacy in the family 🙂

Because I was clueless, I had to do a little research on macaroons since I always see it being spelled two different ways and people seem to have different ideas of what macaroons are/should look like.  The word “macaron” is actually not an alternate spelling of macaroon.  In fact, the two terms refer to distinctly different things.  Both macarons and macaroons are confections, and both names are derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for “to crush” — but that is basically where the similarities end.  Who knew?!

A macaron specifically refers to a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and granulated or powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream frosting or a fruit spread.  These are the kind you typically see at bakeries and are even sometimes dipped in chocolate  THIS type of macaroon treat that I’m sharing with you today has a crunchy exterior and a very soft interior that’s almost nougat-like in that it’s very chewy.  To add to the confusion, it’s occasionally called a French macaroon.  The almond or coconut macaroon, or congolais, as it’s called in France, is frequently served during Passover because it contains no flour.  I thought that was pretty interesting!

Well, there’s your baking lesson for the day.  I definitely learned something and I hope you give these a try!  They go great with coffee…

Grandmas-Almond-Macaroons-Cookie-Recipe for Christmas or any holiday

Grandma’s Italian Almond Macaroons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These Italian Almond Macaroons are an old family recipe passed on from my Italian grandmother. These cookies are a legacy in our family at Christmas time.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 lb. almond paste (this was 2 cans for me)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • sliced almonds (about 1.5 cups)
  1. Whip egg whites in the bowl of a mixer for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add sugar to bowl and whip together with the eggs.
  3. Stir in almond paste (after you break it up/cut it into chunks to make it easier to blend).
  4. Roll into ball and chill overnight or for several hours.
  5. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into 1.5 inch roll (oblong shape).
  6. Roll in sliced almonds.You may have to press the almonds a little bit into the cookie so the dough is covered with almonds on all sides.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes, one sheet on bottom rack one on middle rack (if using 2 sheets), switch positions halfway through. You want to bake them long enough so the almonds are getting a little toasted and crunchy but not too dark. You don't want these cookies to be super light in color because they won't have the right crunchiness and the almond flavor won't be as strong.
  8. Mine took 35 minutes in my oven and I did them all on one large cookie sheet in the center of the oven. Enjoy!
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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

44 Responses to “Grandma’s Italian Almond Macaroons”

  1. Sarah
    January 15, 2014 at 12:49 AM #

    They look delicious! And I love when you share little baking lessons. I just learned something new! Thanks 🙂

    • January 15, 2014 at 1:27 AM #

      I’m glad you enjoy my little lessons

    • willow
      June 24, 2017 at 4:15 PM #

      Why bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes? I sort of followed this recipe but baked at 350 i think… much shorter baking time, crispy crunchy, and not pale. They were delicious. I also cut sugar by 1/3. And i did let the dough sit in the fridge for a bit…maybe 1/2 hour. They were delicious!

  2. January 15, 2014 at 12:57 AM #

    *Running to the kitchen now*!

    • January 15, 2014 at 1:26 AM #

      Haha yay!!

      • January 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM #

        Yay! I’ve seen these beauties on cookie tables with my Italian family before!!

        • January 15, 2014 at 12:39 PM #

          Yes – it’s hard to go to a party with Italians and NOT see these cookies!!

  3. January 15, 2014 at 6:54 AM #

    These are one of my very favorite cookies! Anything with almond paste gets me excited and I always have a can in the house for an almond macaroon “fix”. Yours looks delicious with the sliced almonds on top.

    • January 15, 2014 at 12:41 PM #

      Thanks, Monica! I love Italian cookies like this 🙂

  4. January 15, 2014 at 7:27 AM #

    Old family recipes are just the best!

  5. Cindy Foy
    January 15, 2014 at 8:21 AM #

    How many cookies does this recipe make approximately? What quantitiy of sliced almonds is needed?

    • January 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM #

      Cindy – sorry about that! It made about a dozen cookies for me and I used a little over a cup of the sliced almonds. I put them in a bowl and just added a little more as I needed them.

  6. January 15, 2014 at 8:45 AM #

    Ashley, these look delicious! I love almonds and have never made macaroons. Thanks for the recipe. Definitely a must try! Pinning 😀

    • January 15, 2014 at 12:39 PM #

      Thanks for the pin, Cindy!

  7. January 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM #

    I had no idea there was a difference between “Macaroons” and “macarons” Thanks Ashley for the baking lesson 🙂
    These look so good – loved the slivered almonds on them

    • January 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM #

      I always wondered what the difference was but never bothered to look it up before!

  8. January 15, 2014 at 3:19 PM #

    Those macaroons look awesome! Great job Ashley 🙂

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  9. January 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM #

    Thanks for the lesson ;–) These look fab!

    • January 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM #

      No problem! LOL

  10. January 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM #

    I love anything with almond paste. It always smells so amazing. These cookies look delightful!

    • January 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM #

      Thank you, Lisa!

  11. January 15, 2014 at 9:48 PM #

    Thanks for explaining the difference between macarons and macaroons. Very interesting. I had no idea 🙂 also I want to say thank you for sharing family recipe. Some people like to keep it a big secret 🙂 I am pinning those and will make sure to make them soon 🙂

    • January 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM #

      I don’t like to keep really awesome recipes a secret 🙂

  12. January 15, 2014 at 9:52 PM #

    P.S. where can I buy almond paste?

    • January 15, 2014 at 10:55 PM #

      I found it at my local grocery store!

  13. January 16, 2014 at 4:12 AM #

    Hi! This looks really delicious.. I dont think I could find almond paste here although the Spanish do love using almonds in their desserts.. maybe I could, I just haven´t looked..
    Have a great week!! Xx

    • January 16, 2014 at 3:06 PM #

      You could always look online and see if you can get it on amazon or something!

  14. January 16, 2014 at 9:32 AM #

    Hmmm I think I just found a good use for all of those sliced almonds I just received!

    • January 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM #

      There ya go!! 🙂 🙂

  15. January 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM #

    All those crunchy sliced almonds are calling my name! Can’t wait to try these cookies. Easy to make too.

    • January 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM #

      Yes – so easy!! Thanks, Laura!

  16. Kristy
    January 16, 2014 at 11:03 PM #

    Thanks for this recipe! My grandma used to make these cookies which we always called “almond paste cookies”. Hers used to have a yummy cherry on top. I never got the recipe before she died. I forgot how much I loved Grandma P.’s cookies, too. You don’t have her gnocchi recipe, too, do you? I remember going over there with your hubby, SIL, etc. when we were little but I’ve never had gnocchi like Grandma P. made since.

    • January 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM #

      Kristy- I wish I did! Not even sure I ever bad her gnocchi sadly

  17. January 17, 2014 at 12:21 AM #

    Very interesting facts! Thanks for the baking lessons. These cookies look delicious! The description made me drool! 😀

  18. January 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM #

    Ashley, these sweet little Italian almond cookies look divine! Seriously, I cannot wait to try this heirloom recipe. 🙂 Thank you for sharing Mr. Wishes’ grandma’s recipe! xo

    • January 17, 2014 at 3:29 PM #

      I hope you try it!! Thanks!

  19. January 19, 2014 at 9:45 AM #

    Thank you for the macaroni / macaroon lesson. Nothing like a recipe from grandma, simple yet full of flavor!

  20. January 20, 2014 at 1:19 AM #

    Wow yum, these macaroons look amazing, Ashley! The almond pieces on top is just perfect. Bookmarking this! Have a great day (:

    • January 20, 2014 at 1:46 AM #

      Thank you so much, Monica! You have a great day, also 🙂

  21. Dawn
    January 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM #

    Oh, Ashley! Why didn’t these get served when I was there???!!! They look so yummy, I can’t stand it! Is “marzipan” another name for almond paste? Oh, the way the texture of these cookies looks is making my mouth water.

    • January 20, 2014 at 9:41 PM #

      Thank you!! I’m sorry I didn’t have them at Christmas – I made them well before to make sure they would turn out OK and planned on making them again and ran out of time! Marzipan is actually different from almond paste!! Here’s this article I found that tells the difference 🙂

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