These chocolate-iced amaretto sugar cookies are a delicious twist on the traditional sugar cookie.
These crispy buttery sugar cookies have a subtle almond flavor and are iced with smooth creamy semi-sweet chocolate and then sprinkled with chopped almonds.
Cookies are one of my favorite desserts, especially cookies with chocolate. Try one of my other cookie recipes like peanut butter caramel chocolate chip cookies or these fresh mint chocolate chip cookies. If you really love amaretto, I even created a recipe for amaretto chocolate chip cookies.
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Why you will love this recipe
- These cookies are simple to make and use just a handful of common ingredients.
- They are considered drop sugar cookies which means no rolling pin or cookie cutters are necessary.
What is amaretto?
Amaretto in Italian means “little bitter.” It is a sweet Italian liqueur that originated in Saronno, Italy.
Originally the flavor was derived from bitter almonds. Modern commercial amarettos are flavored with apricot pits or peach pits. Apricot pits and Peach pits are natural sources of benzaldehyde which provides an almond-like flavor to the liqueur.
Some amarettos are infused with other flavors, such as vanilla. They’re often sweetened with dark or burnt sugar which gives the liqueur its dark amber color. My favorite brand is Disaronno.
You could also make your own amaretto.
Amaretto Sugar Cookies
Bread Flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content which will create more gluten and therefore a chewier cookie.
Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar: The baking soda (a base) reacts with the cream of tartar (an acid) to help the cookies rise. I prefer to use baking soda in this recipe rather than baking powder because baking powder creates a fluffier cake-like texture.
Cream of tartar may be a more obscure ingredient but it is good to have on hand and is essential for making snickerdoodle cookies.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Unsalted Butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the cookies because salinity can vary between brands of butter. If you only have salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.
Granulated Sugar: The amount of white granulated sugar in a recipe controls the spread of the cookie.
Brown Sugar: The addition of brown sugar creates a slightly chewy texture.
Egg Plus One Egg Yolk: Adding an extra egg yolk increases the amount of fat in the cookie making it chewier.
Amaretto: If you don’t have amaretto you could substitute almond extract. The almond flavor may be stronger in almond extract than in amaretto so you may want to reduce the amount.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: You can also substitute chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
Unsalted Butter: Adding a tablespoon of butter to chocolate while microwaving helps the chocolate to melt more smoothly and makes it the perfect consistency for spreading. When you add butter to chocolate you are adding additional fat which creates shinier glossier chocolate when it hardens.
Stand Mixer: I have a stand mixer from KitchenAid. My mom and brother bought it for me for my birthday almost 15 years ago. I use it weekly and it still works just like it did when it was brand new. It makes so many kitchen tasks easier and comes with a variety of attachments.
Rubber spatula: For folding batters together, I prefer a stiffer spatula like this one from OXO. It fits comfortably in my hand, is dishwasher safe, and is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the handle and head are silicone coated which makes it easy to clean and safe to use with my non-stick cookware and bakeware.
Sturdy cookie sheets. My favorite is these Airbake cookie sheets. They have a pocket of air in the center of the baking sheet that helps prevent the bottoms of the cookies from overcooking.
Amaretto Sugar Cookies
Whisk the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute.
Add the egg, egg yolk, and amaretto. Beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix at low speed until combined.
Wrap the dough in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough each. The dough may be a bit crumbly but will become smoother as you roll it.
Place the balls on a baking sheet leaving at least 2 inches in between each cookie. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. The centers will look very soft.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place chocolate chips and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir. Continue heating in 15-second intervals until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
Use a knife or offset spatula to spread chocolate icing across half of the cookie. Place on wax paper (or parchment paper) to dry.
Sprinkle chopped almonds over the chocolate.
Repeat the process until all cookies have been iced.
Make-ahead, storing, and freezing instructions
Make-Ahead: You can mix up the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Storing: Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Freezing Cookie Dough: Unbaked cookie dough balls can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, remove from the baking sheet and place in a zip-top bag. Label with the date and contents.
When you are ready to bake cookies, remove the cookie balls from the freezer, let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, and then bake. You may need to add a minute or two to the baking time.
Freezing Baked Cookies: Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Once the cookies have cooled completely, place them on a sheet pan and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen cookies to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Label with the date and contents.
Thaw frozen cookies overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter.
For the best aesthetics, I would not ice the cookies with chocolate before freezing. Freezing can sometimes cause chocolate to become cloudy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, I have never made the substitution and the almond flavor may be stronger in almond extract than in amaretto so you may want to reduce the amount.
Bake sugar cookies until they have just a hint of color.
Adding a tablespoon of butter to chocolate while microwaving helps the chocolate to melt more smoothly and makes it the perfect consistency for icing. When you add butter to chocolate you are adding additional fat which creates shinier glossier chocolate when it hardens.
- Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. This ensures the ingredients mix evenly and will give you the best final texture. To quickly bring the eggs to room temperature, place the whole eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.
- Refrigerate the dough for 2-3 hours to allow the flour to fully hydrate. Refrigerating the dough also allows the butter to solidify and stops your cookies from spreading too far when baked.
- My secret for perfectly baked cookies is this AirBake cookie sheet. My cookies bake evenly every time I use these pans. AirBake cookie sheets have two aluminum layers with a layer of air in between them. The layer of air decreases the temperature of the top layer of metal, preventing the bottom of the cookie from browning too quickly. These pans are also really easy to clean. Just wipe them clean with a little soap and hot water. It is not recommended to fully submerge these pans in water or place them in a dishwasher.
- Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
- You can melt either semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
- After icing the cookies in chocolate, you can speed up the drying time by putting them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
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