* Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Place the almonds in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Run the blade until the almonds are ground.
* Add the sugar and continue to run the blade until the mixture is reduced to a very fine paste. Transfer to a bowl.
* Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the egg whites to the almond paste, mixing thoroughly with a spatula.
* Combine the grated lemon rind and the bitter almond extract.  
* Line a cookie sheet or flat oven pan with parchment paper.
* Form small balls the size of a walnut, place them on the pan approximately 2” (5 cm) apart.
* Wet a kitchen towel, and pat lightly the top of the cookies, to make them smooth.
* Bake for about 25 minutes or until light golden color.

To obtain soft amaretti lengthen the baking time and reduce the temperature. 300F (150C) for 60 minutes will be enough.

The cookies can be decorated on the surface, before baking, with pine nuts, or a blanched almond, or small candied fruit pieces, or coated with powdered sugar.

Special attention must be given to the quantity of the egg white. Large eggs contain a large egg white, and consequently may give you an excessive quantity of it. If too much egg white is used, the cookies will not rise and will result very flat. In order not to risk to use too much egg white, add the egg white a little at the time with a spoon until you reach a consistency similar to meat loaf.
AMARETTI - Italian Almond Cookies
* 18 oz (500 gr) almonds, whole blanched
* 11 oz (300 gr) sugar
* 1 lemon rind, grated
* 3 egg whites
* 3 - 4 drops bitter almond extract