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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pignoli Cookies

Would you like a cookie that fell in the snowbank? I love the winter light in Fairbanks. We get very little of it, but what we do get is quite spectacular. The problem is that what we do get five days of the week falls during the hours that I am working. I enter my office in the dark and leave in the dark. That makes photographing food nearly impossible. A couple weeks ago I decided that I would bring these cookies to work to photograph them during my lunch hour. The good thing about college campuses is that you can photograph cookies outside in -10 degree weather and nobody gives you a second glance. Unfortunately, my fingers don't work so well in these temperatures and at one point I lost control of the entire plate and all the cookies fell into the snow. So, in case you were looking for the directions where you sprinkle the cookies with sugar, well that's not sugar!
Pignoli cookies are a traditional italian cookie. I had never tried them until a few weeks ago, but instantly fell in love with them. I knew I had to make them. The recipe I found looked pretty easy,in fact it is the only cookie recipe I have ever made that made exactly the number of cookies that the recipe yielded. They were just as good as the ones I had with burnt caramel ice cream at a restaurant in San Francisco.
When I returned to work I jokingly asked if anyone would like a cookie that fell in the snowbank. Well, they must have been pretty good, because someone ate the whole plate!

Pignoli Cookies
adapted very slightly from Food Blogga

2 ½ cups pine nuts
1 (7-ounce) tube of almond paste
¾ cup sugar
2 egg whites
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
Powered sugar for garnish, optional

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse 1/4 cup of the pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the almond paste in chunks to the food processor; process until just mixed. Add  sugar; process until crumbly. Add  egg whites and vanilla; process until the dough begins to come together. Add flour and salt; process until fully blended and smooth.

Pour the remaining pinenuts into a small bowl. Using a teaspoon sized cookie scoop, or roll a teaspoon sized scoop of batter into a ball. Gently drop the ball in the pine nuts and turn until completely coated. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool on racks. Makes exactly 30 cookies (well, it did for me).


  1. These pignili cookies look and sound delicious! I have some pine nuts in the fridge and now I know what to use them for. :) Thank you for entering the Smackdown Battle. Best of luck to you.


  2. I have seen these cookies but have never eaten or made one. I have a bag of pine nuts in my fridge and I am going to try these. Thanks for sharing.

  3. O,l I love this blog and the story about the cookies that fell in the snow!I must make these cookies , they llok lovely!! I am your latest folower.You sound like a woman after my own heart, hahaha!! Check out my blog if you want, I love baking too...


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