Italian pignoli or pine nut cookies, are a staple in Italy and Italian American bakeries. This light and airy cookie is made from just four simple ingredients.
These easy Italian pignoli cookies make their way to my Christmas and Easter table each year. They are a huge hit with my family and no Christmas dessert table is complete without them. With just four ingredients, these cookies are a breeze to make. I love to dust them with powdered sugar after they have cooled.
What you will need for these cookies:
- Almond paste: Be sure to use the real deal for this, not marzipan. Almond paste is coarser, less sweet and holds up in baking. You can find almond paste in well stocked grocery stores, but if you have a bakery you love, I usually ask them to sell me some almond paste. You will need one pound for these cookies.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar is what I use. You can also substitute castor sugar if you can find it.
- Extra large egg whites: Extra large egg whites (without any trace of yolk) are the key to making these light and airy. If I get any yolk in the egg whites, I usually put it aside to use for something else. I always separate my eggs into a clear dish before adding them to the remaining ingredients so I can correct for this (this is also a great idea if you are like me, and did an oopsy with the shells)! I have tried this recipe with large egg whites, but I usually over or undershoot the equivalent, and the cookies wind up tasting a little flat.
- Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine. They can get pretty expensive especially when finding them in specialty and local grocery stores. You can buy in bulk online or at Costco, however even this can cause some sticker shock. If they are not in your budget, a good alternative is sliced almonds.
- Stand Mixer: A stand mixer with the paddle attachment makes this recipe a breeze to make. Everything goes into one bowl and then dropped onto a baking sheet.
Storing pignoli cookies:
After the cookies have cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. Happy baking!
Easy Italian Pignoli Cookies
- Stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
- 1 lb almond paste not marzipan
- 1¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 extra large egg whites slightly beaten
- 8 oz pignoli (pine) nuts
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2- 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the almond paste in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for a few minutes on low/stir to smooth it out. Do not overbeat or it will become dry.
- Add sugar, and the slightly beaten egg whites and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until creamy.
- Let batter rest about 5 minutes.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the lined cookies sheets, about 1 inch apart. place about 8-10 pine nuts on each cookie, lightly pressing them into the cookies.
- Bake 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, rotate pans, and cook an additional 5-7 minutes. Cookies should be golden brown on bottom and at the edges, but still lightly colored on top. Do not over or under bake.
- Cool completely in the pans. Remove with a thin flexible spatula. Once completely cooled, sprinkle powdered sugar on them. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.