Pignoli Cookie Recipe

What are pignoli cookies?  They are are yummy, chewy macaroon style cookie from Sicily, Italy.  This pignoli cookie recipe is so simple and quick.  Pignoli means ‘pine nut’ in Italian.  When you see a pine nut cookie it probably will be a version of this cookie.  Because pine nuts and almond paste can be expensive, these pignoli cookies are usually served at special occasions.

pignoli cookie recipe

Many recipes insist on only using canned almond paste.  Well, I am big fan of using what you either have on hand, or is easily found at your local grocery store.  My store only carried almond paste in a box… so, guess what, that’s what I used.  The cookies turned out just fine.  I also don’t have a large food processor.  Honestly, never found a reason to spend the money.  But, I have a small one which is part of my immersion blender package.  This worked just fine.  I had to add the sugar into the bowl in batches, but it all fit.  Again, use what you have.  If you have a large food processor, then by all means, use it …. but don’t feel like you need to rush out and spend a lot of money.  If you don’t have a small food processor unit, then use your blender. Most blenders have enough power today to finely grind stuff.

pignoli cookie recipe

I use what I can easily find…..

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2:

Pulse almond paste in a food processor until broken up into small bits.

pignoli cookie recipe

Step 3:

Add sugar and salt and pulse until finely ground.

pignoli cookie recipe

Step 4:

Beat together almond mixture, egg white and honey in an electric mixer until smooth.  Takes about five minutes.  The batter will be very thick.

pignoli cookie recipe

Step 5:

Here’s where I stray from the traditional recipe.  I like recipes that are quick and easy.  That said, the traditional recipe calls for you to add the batter to a piping bag and pipe out 1 1/2 inch rounds onto a cookie sheet.  I use a small cookie scoop instead.  It doesn’t change the way the cookies taste or look.  What it does change is the time spent making these.  So, if you really want to pipe these out, go ahead, but know a small cookie scoop works just great and will save you lots and lots of time!

Scoop the cookies (or pipe) onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Pignoli cookie recipe

I use a small scoop …

Pignoli cookie recipe

Step 6:

Press the nuts onto the cookie tops.  I like to make a pattern.  If you don’t, then simply press some onto the top.

Pignoli cookie recipe

The pine nuts can be pressed into a pattern, or just press some onto the top randomly… your choice.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes; or until golden brown.  I usually rotate the pans halfway through.  Cool the cookies on a rack.

Pignoli cookie recipe


Makes about 2 dozen

8 oz almond paste

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup pine nuts


(adapted recipe from:  epicurious.com)

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