Almond Hearts - Cuoricini di Mandorle: Out of all the recipes I developed this year for Valentines Day, this was my favorite. These almond hearts are made using my Nonna Romana's recipe for Pasta Reale, which is an almond paste from Puglia. In Puglia, sweets made of almond paste or pasta di mandorla are used to mark special occasions, especially weddings. I thought it was only fitting to turn Nonna's Classic recipe into a celebration of love this year. I found the cookies to be such a beautiful blank canvas for decorating and I had such a ball doing it. Classic pasta di Mandorle are adorned with simple garnishes like sugar glaze and chocolate so I went for a classic look by dipping half the cookies in each and adding festive sprinkles.
These cookies are fairly easy to make. I recommend chilling the dough as long as possible, even over night. If the dough begins to stick while you're rolling it out just keep popping it in the refrigerator.
The bottoms tend to stick while baking so I dusted them with flour before popping them in the oven. You can also use cooking spray if you like.