Preheat oven to 320ºF/160ºC and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper
Spread the almonds out onto a baking sheet and toast for 5-8 minutes. Take care not to burn them. Your nose will tell you when they are ready. Cool.
Chop the almonds in a food processor but not until completely ground. There should be some larger chunks amongst the finely ground nuts. Set aside until needed.
Beat butter, superfine (castor) sugar and brandy until well combined and creamy.
Stir in flour and finely chopped almonds and mix with your fingers until well combined.
Roll scant tablespoons of dough into balls (about the size of a small walnut) and place on the prepared baking sheet allowing a bit of room for spreading.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffed and pale golden.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool. Don’t coat with powdered (icing) sugar until they are cooled to barely warm otherwise the sugar will melt and end up a sticky mess.
Sift powdered (icing) sugar into a small bowl and roll cookies to coat. Store in an airtight container with baking paper between the layers.
Before serving sieve over the top of the cookies with powdered (icing) sugar.
Tips for Success
Ground almonds don’t work as well for this recipe. Go to the effort of grinding or crushing the nuts yourself.
Be sure to use softened butter - not melted - just softened at room temperature
Don't roll hot cookies in sugar. Wait until the cookies have cooled to barely warm otherwise you'll end up in a sticky mess.
Check out the "Variations" and "FAQ's" for more information about how to make this Italian Wedding Cookies recipe perfectly!