I fell in love with pignoli cookies while in Italy. Pignoli is Italian for pine nuts. In Italy, they make them very tiny, the size of a nickel or a quarter.
Make sure the almond paste you buy is soft. If you get it home and it is really hard, you may have difficulty getting it pulsed in food processor. If that happens, use a box grater and grate on the large holes and proceed with recipe. These are crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. If you like almond or marzipan, you’ll love these.
Traditionally these are made with just almond paste, egg whites and pine nuts. My recipe increases the egg whites and adds almond meal. This adds more fiber and protein. Almost a health cookie? These can be made ahead, carefully wrapped and stored in an air-tight container for 2 months… Mine don’t last that long.
EVENT: Apps & Alcohol
YIELDS: 4 1/2 Dozen
2 packages almond paste (7 oz. each)
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 1/2 – 4 cups pine nuts *
2/3 cup almond meal
Baking sheets lined with parchment paper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice almond paste into 3/4-inch slices and place in food processor. Pulse 3-4 times to break up paste.
3. Add sugar. Pulse until well mixed.
4. Add almond meal. Pulse 5 times.
5. Remove almond paste / sugar mixture to large bowl.
6. In bowl of free standing mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
7. Stir 2 tablespoons of egg whites into almond paste / sugar mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites.
8. Place pine nuts in a shallow bowl.
9. Roll the almond paste mixture into 1-inch balls. Don’t worry, dough is very wet.
10. Press each ball into the nuts and coat evenly.
11. Place on baking sheet approximately 1” apart. Bake 15-17 minutes, rotating sheets front to back, at least 12 minutes.
* A NOTE: Costco is an excellent place to purchase pine nuts!