Chewy, delicious, naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, all you need is 5 ingredients and 20 minutes to make these classic maltese almond cookies.
I've always been a fan of Maltese cuisine, from the famous street food pastizzi, to mouthwatering timpana plates, there are amazing authentic flavors to try and taste around the island.
Surprisingly, Maltese culinary tradition doesn't include many sweet recipes.
Most desserts require very simple ingredients, and some others are borrowed from the close Sicily (like the famous cassata or cannoli).
These traditional Biskuttini tal-Lewz, or almond cookies, are a traditional Maltese dessert usually prepared over Christmas, Easter and other festive holidays.
Full of delicious almond flavour and a hint of lemon, these slightly chewy light cookies make a perfect treat for yourself or to share with friends.
Since there's always a holiday around the corner, these would be a lovely idea for a cute DIY gift for the foodies in your life.
Traditional Maltese almond cookies are made with only 5 ingredients and are ready in only 20 min.
This is one of the easiest cookie recipes you'll ever try, and it's made with simple pantry ingredients, you most probably have in your kitchen already.
Making these cookies couldn't be easier.
Throw all the ingredients in a large bowl, or simply fold them all together in a food processor.
Mix for about 1 minute or until evenly combined.
With the help of your hands shape small amounts of the cookie mixture into tiny balls.
Like thumbprint cookies, you need to flatten up the surface by pressing the balls a little with your finger.
Arrange the cookies on a tray covered with rice paper or parchment paper.
The traditional recipe calls for rice paper, but I didn't have it and simply used parchment paper. So, I guess, don't worry about that.
Top each cookie with a whole blanched almond and they're ready to hit the oven.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are crispy and golden on top, but still soft and chewy inside.
If you want them on the dryer side, just bake for 5-10 minutes more.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and transfer the cookies on a cooling rack.
Allow to cool slightly, then they're all ready to be served and devoured!
How to store
Place the prepared cookies in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Maltese Almond Cookies
- 200 g ground almonds
- 180 g sugar
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or half vanilla bean
- 25 whole blanched almonds
- Rice paper for baking, or parchment paper
- In a large bowl, fold in all the ingredients and mix until evenly combined.
- Shape small amounts into tiny balls with the help of your hands.
- Flatten up the surface by lightly pressing each ball with your thumb.
- Arrange the cookies on a tray covered with rice paper or parchment paper.
- Top each cookies with a whole blanched almond.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 170°C/350°F for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and crisp on the outside but still slightly chewy inside. If you like them more crunchy, bake them for 5 minutes longer.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven and transfer the cookies on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in November 2015 and updated with more info.
These are very like the ones we had in Gozo a few years ago, which I became addicted to! A really easy recipe and delicious - thank you Andrea. I had to bake them for about 20 minutes because at 12 minutes they were pale and barely cooked.
A total crowd pleaser! I'm ethnically Maltese but don't cook the cuisine. These cookies were the perfect place to start. Marzipan is a quintessential Maltese flavour, so this almond-heavy recipe hits the right note.
Ritienne Sammut says
hello andrea, is this reciepe gluten free and lactose free please?
thanks regards Ritienne
Hi Ritienne, this maltese almond cookies recipe doesn't include gluten and dairy so it's gluten-free and dairy-free!
Anna Vella says
Hi , just wanted to know if I can freeze the dough ?
Margaret bandara says
I love your recipe of your almond biscuits. I was wondering if you can please let me know on a traditional Maltese recipe for making fogeili it’s pastry with a almond filling.
This recipe looks great and really easy.I would certainly love to try the recipe.
Hi Andrea, the refrigeration idea worked! Now they taste AND look great 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
Hello! These Maltese cookies are sooo yummy! I was wondering if you knew a way to stick the almonds back onto the cookie because a lot of my almonds feel off of the cookie:( Should i use maybe a mixture of sugar with a little water to make the sugar sticky? Thank You!
I'm so glad you like them Rae! I think if you mix icing sugar with a little amount of milk, the almonds will stick back to the cookie! Let me know if it works 🙂
Patricia Rao says
Hi Andrea, I’m Maltese and I went to Malta back in May to visit my family. I love these cookies and brought back 4 dozen of them back home so my kids could try them. I bake all the time but never tried doing these. Can I use almond meal as a substitute to ground almonds. And if so how much should I use.
Hi Patricia! I'm so glad you love these cookies as much as I do, I hope your kids liked them! You can definitely substitute the same amount of ground almonds with almond meal (they're super similar). I look forward to hearing how the cookies turned out!!
I love the taste of these but they always seem to spread out rather than stay in the ball-form during baking. Do you have any suggestions? Could it be that I’m using granulated sugar rather than caster sugar? I’ve noticed other recipes recommend caster.
Hey Lindley, sorry to hear that! I usually use caster sugar too, but I think if you refrigerate the cookie balls for about 1 hour and then put them straight in the hot oven, they should not spread 🙂
My grandma makes these all the time 🙂 Great memories!
Anne Prosser says
Please provide the equivalent in cups for the almonds and sugar. They look delicious.
Hi Anne, I find measuring in grams more accurate when making some baking recipes. Plus there is a difference between US and UK cups, so I think it's best if you use a convertible sheet or a kitchen scale for making this and other dessert recipes 🙂
They look and sound so delicious 😀
They really are delicious I promise! Hope you try them Nadia 🙂