Cookies · Desserts · European (Western and Eastern) Cuisine · Mediterreanean Cuisine

Pignoli (Italian pine nut meringue cookies)

imageSometimes you want more than a chocolate chip cookie.

Pine nuts in desserts are a rare if not unheard of ingredient in the US. They are normally reserved for pesto or maybe a topping on a salad so you can imagine my giddiness when I saw them in cookies, tarts, and sweet breads in Europe. Once again, Europeans caught onto something much earlier than we did… and I’m not talking about canyoning.

These cookies have almond paste, pine nuts, and egg whites – disregard the sugar and this is the ultimate healthy cookie. The texture is similar to a French macaron with a delicate crunch on the outside, chewy center, and that extra something something from the pine nuts. It’s a delicate cookie that is perfectly paired with a cup of tea and some finger sandwiches. Or more realistically, as you’re repetitively checking Facebook every 5 minutes wondering why your friends aren’t posting more. Dozen of cookies…gone. They were little anyway.

These cookies originate from Sicily and are also called panellets in Catalonia. They are often eaten during All Saints day and during the holiday season.

Makes about 3 dozen


2 cups whole blanched almonds
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup pine nuts


Heat oven to 300°. Combine almonds and granulated sugar in a food processor, and process until very finely ground, about 4 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and egg whites, and process until a smooth dough forms.

Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1⁄2″ round tip, and pipe 1 1⁄2″ mounds, spaced 2″ apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Gently press about 10-12 pine nuts on the top of each mound so they adhere. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Recipe from Saveur


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