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Easy Italian biscuits like our nonna makes

Easy Italian biscuits like our nonna makes

My Italian mother-in-law Maria (FYI 99% of Italian mothers-in-law are called Maria), makes a mighty fine biscuit. She generally has a batch of easy Italian biscuits coming out of the oven on any given day. And by ‘batch’ I mean around 200 biscotti. Marias don’t do small quantities.

My kids love her lemon-iced biscotti. A sweet, dense Italian biscuit made with vast quantities of lemon zest. These are the biscuits she makes the most and I will share the recipe soon. Just as soon as she lets me have it. 😉

My favourite easy Italian biscuits, though, are these ones. They are made with so many egg whites they are practically a meringue inside. You bite in through the crunch of the outside, into the soft, gooey inside and it’s just heaven. Then there’s literally a cherry on top to send you completely over the edge.

Psst, these ginger biscuits are really nice too.


The trick with these easy Italian biscuits is to pull them out of the oven the second they start to brown. Make your first tray your ‘tester’ tray as you’ll need to know your oven very well to get it right. I find mine are perfect if kept in my new oven for a few seconds after the timer goes off at 7 minutes. My old oven it was 9 minutes.  You’ll really need to experiment.

Don’t fret if they crisp up a bit too much. You’ll still get a lovely Italian biscuit, but you might miss the slide from crisp to soft inside. And also try not to fret about the volume of sugar pouring into the mix. These are biscuits made occasionally as a treat.

One more thing: this is a ‘Nonna batch’ recipe. You can easily halve it if you’re not cooking for your suburb. I find that it’s nice to make the full batch and distribute them to friends and neighbours. They are always very well received!

Nonna-style easy Italian biscuits

Easy Italian biscuits like our Nonna makes - a simple traditional treat

Makes 60 biscuits
Takes 20 minutes
Bakes around 7 minutes

• 10 egg whites lightly beaten
•  1 kg ground almonds
•  600 g caster sugar
•  6 drops vanilla essence
•  6 drops almond essence
•  30 glace cherries, halved
•  About 1 cup icing sugar
Preheat fan-forced oven to 160ºC and line as many baking trays as you have with baking paper. Sprinkle a good amount of icing sugar onto your work bench. 
Put egg whites, ground almonds, sugar, vanilla and almond essence into a bowl and mix well together with a fork. 
Roll mix into 20g (about walnut size) balls, then roll each ball through the icing sugar.
Put the balls onto the baking tray and flatten with palm of hand. Top each biscuit with a cherry.
Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the biscuits are just starting to colour. Cool completely on a wire rack before eating far too many.
These biscuits will keep in an airtight jar for a few days on the bench top. They are not suitable to freeze.
Nonna's easy Italian biscuits