Amaretto amore

Celebrating Amaretto.
Usually associated with Italian amore…actually its name is configured from the Italian derivative amaro, meaning “bitter” and descriptive of flavor from bitter almond ( and why Amaretto is usually incorporated as an almond enhancement )
Historic lore credits the tale of a DaVinci pupil working on a Saronno chapel fresco.  As appreciation, the Madonna model crafted a potion of apricot kernels steeped in brandy…and the resultant liqueur became known as Amaretto. And still manufactured in Saronno.
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Apricots with Amaretto Syrup 
Albicocche Ripiene
2/3 cup Disaronno Amaretto liqueur
10 firm-ripe large apricots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
6 amaretti (Italian almond macaroons; if paper-wrapped, use 3 packets), crumbled (1/3 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts for sprinkling (optional)
Peel apricots with a vegetable peeler, then halve and pit. Finely chop 2 halves and set aside. Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook sugar, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Stir in Amaretto (be careful; syrup will spatter) and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes. Working in 2 batches, poach apricot halves in syrup at a low simmer, turning, until almost tender, 5 to 10 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer apricots, hollow sides up, to a platter. Add crumbled amaretti to syrup and cook over low heat, crushing cookies with back of a wooden spoon, until melted into a coarse purée.  Stir in reserved chopped apricot and gently simmer, stirring, until syrup is deep brown and slightly thickened. Cool syrup slightly. Spoon syrup over apricots and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chocolate Amaretto Souffle
3 tablespoons amaretto
1 cup chilled whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
5 large egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons crushed amaretti cookies
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Butter six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes–dust with sugar. Place on baking sheet. Whisk 1/2 cup cream and 1 tablespoon amaretto in medium bowl to soft peaks. Refrigerate whipped cream. Stir 1/2 cup cream and chocolate in medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Whisk in yolks 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Whisk in 2 tablespoons amaretto and both extracts. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large  bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Spoon enough batter into each soufflé dish to fill dish halfway. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tablespoon amaretti cookies. Top with remaining soufflé batter. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tablespoon amaretti cookies. Bake soufflés until puffed and set, about 13 minutes. Dust each with powdered sugar. Accompany soufflés with whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Amaretto Cannoli
12 cannoli shells
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur ( dare 2 tablespoons? )
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
12 maraschino cherries ( optional )
In a large bowl, stir ricotta cheese with 1 cup confectioners sugar until combined. Add almonds, chocolate chips and almond liqueur. Carefully spoon into cannoli shells (or pipe from a pastry bag), filling from the center out.  Sprinkle individual serving plates with powdered sugar and cocoa, or sprinkle on cannoli. Trim plates with cherries ( optional )
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