Amaretti cookies are the pride of Saronno, a city just north of Milan in Lombardy, and there’s no amaretti more beloved than these from Chiostro di Saronno. This humble cookie made from just a few simple ingredients is a mainstay of Italian culture, as are the iconic tins in which they have been sold for over a century. This keepsake tin features a painted scene of the canals of Venice, the perfect gift for the sweets-lover in your life.
As the story goes, amaretti were first baked in Saronno during the Middle Ages by a poor young couple who wanted to honor the visiting cardinal of Milano. They had very little in the cupboard, and came up with a simple combination of sugar, egg whites, and almond-scented apricot kernels to create these sweet morsels. Today, amaretti are topped with sparkling pearl sugar and wrapped in pairs in colorful tissue paper twists. True to the original recipe, these little cookies are chewy, light, and crisp—and naturally gluten-free!
Lazzaroni, the makers of Chiostro di Saronno, have been producing amaretti using traditional recipes since 1719, first as a small local baker, and then becoming the first company in Italy to produce cookies for commercial sale in 1888. Lazzaroni are custodians to the amaretti archive, which is kept in the cloisters of a 14th-century church in Saronno. The archive includes cookie tins dating back hundreds of years, all hand-decorated with glamorous Italian scenes, alluring women, wistful landscapes, dreamy Christmas vignettes, and more.