Pignoli Cookies (Italian Pine-Nut Cookies)

Pignoli cookies also known as pine nut cookies is a macaroon typical of Sicily, Italy. It is a very popular Italian cookie and holiday cookie recipe. Pignoli cookies are made with almond paste and pine nuts, but no flour.

Pignoli Cookies — also known as pine nut cookies — are a macaroon from Sicily, Italy. They are very popular as a holiday cookie, and are made with almond paste and pine nuts, but no flour.

Pignoli cookies also known as pine nut cookies is a macaroon typical of Sicily, Italy. It is a very popular Italian cookie and holiday cookie recipe. Pignoli cookies are made with almond paste and pine nuts, but no flour.

For your convenience a printable version of the recipe is at the bottom of this post.

True Story: I once won a man’s heart with these Pignoli cookies. Early in the relationship my friend raved about the Pignoli cookies he loved to get whenever he visited Ferrara Bakery in (Little Italy) NYC.  Being of French and German descent, I wasn’t familiar with these classic Italian cookies. I scoured the web for a recipe and found them all to be pretty much the same, with the exception of a small amount of flour, which I prefer to use in my recipe. The cookies were a huge success, and I won his heart. The relationship didn’t last, but these cookies are still one of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 15-20 minutes

Yields: 12-15 cookies

Ingredients  

  • 8 oz almond paste
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 egg whites (~6 tbsp)
  • 1 cup pine nuts

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with Pompeian grapeseed oil spray.
  • Break the almond paste into small pieces; place the pieces in a food processor. Add the granulated and confectioners’ sugars, salt, and the flour. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground.
  • Add the egg whites, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. You may not need to add all of the egg whites.
  • With slightly wet hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. You’re going to get 12-15 cookies from this recipe. Roll the balls in the pine nuts, pressing to adhere the nuts (mainly on the tops of the cookies.)
  • Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Slightly flatten the tops of the cookies with your fingers. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.
  • When cooled, dust cookies generously with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Variations

As with all cookies, there are ways you can alter this recipe to suit your taste buds.

Orange Pignoli Cookies: These cookies incorporate orange zest or juice in the dough, which gives the cookies a slightly citrusy flavor that complements the nuttiness of the pine nuts.

Chocolate Pignoli Cookies: These cookies include cocoa powder or melted chocolate in the dough to create a chocolate and pine-nut flavor combination.

Lemon Pignoli Cookies: Similar to the orange variation, these cookies use lemon zest or juice to add a fresh and tangy flavor to the dough.

Gluten-free Pignoli Cookies: Use almond flour or rice flour to make a gluten-free version.

Savory Pignoli Cookies: If you want a change from the ‘sweet’ variety, use the pine nuts in a savory cookie and mix them with Parmesan cheese, herbs, and spices.

See Also
Canned salmon salad

FAQs

Any tips on how to make the cookies so good?

I recommend scooping them out with a small cookie scoop, to keep them uniform.

I wonder if pistachios or macadamia nuts would clash with the almond paste flavor…or maybe just substitute the pine nuts with more almonds?

Almonds and pistachios both sound like really good alternatives to me.

The dough is too sticky for me to work with!

I recommend lining your baking sheets with parchment paper or spraying them with a non-stick cooking spray.

Is confectioners’ sugar the same as icing sugar and powdered sugar?

Yep, they’re all the same thing — finely ground white sugar that has been added with a touch of cornstarch to prevent caking. “Icing sugar” is more commonly used in the U.K., while “powdered sugar” is more prevalent in the U.S.

How To Store Pignoli Pine-Nut Cookies

Let the cookies cool to room temperature. Line an airtight container with wax or parchment paper; this will prevent the cookies from sticking to each other and keep them fresh. Place a layer of cookies in the container, again making sure the cookies don’t touch each other. If you want to add another layer of cookies, separate them with a sheet of the paper. Keep them in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to 7 days. Don’t refrigerate the cookies, as this will cause them to dry out. You can also freeze the cookies. Just let them thaw at room temperature before eating.

Some of my other favorite Christmas cookies and goodies:

Pignoli cookies also known as pine nut cookies is a macaroon typical of Sicily, Italy. It is a very popular Italian cookie and holiday cookie recipe. Pignoli cookies are made with almond paste and pine nuts, but no flour.

Pignoli Pine-Nut Cookies

About a Mom
4.46 from 11 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 14 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces almond paste
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 egg whites about 6 tablespoons
  • 1 cup pine nuts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with Pompeian Grapeseed Oil Spray.
  • Break the almond paste into small pieces; place the pieces in a food processor. Add the granulated and confectioner's sugars, salt, and the flour. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground. Begin to add the egg whites, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. You may not need to add all of the egg whites.
  • With slightly wet hands, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. I recommend scooping them out with a small cookie scoop, to keep them uniform. You're going to get 12 – 15 cookies from this recipe. Roll the balls in the pine nuts, pressing to adhere the nuts (mainly on the tops of the cookies.)
  • Place the balls 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Slightly flatten the tops of the cookies with your fingers. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.
  • When cooled, dust cookies generously with confectioner's sugar before serving.
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