These 6 ingredient pignoli cookies (classic Italian pine nut cookies) are soft, chewy and delicious. Made with almond paste, sugar and egg whites, my recipe is less sweet than most; it comes together in 30 minutes or less.
- 200 g (7 oz) package of almond paste (I recommend Odense)
- 120 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/8– 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 large eggs whites (about 30–32 g cracked weight)
- 65 g (about 1/3– 1/2 cup) all purpose flour or 1:1 GF flour (see notes below)
- 227 g (appx. 1 1/2 cups) pine nuts
- Powdered sugar, optional
Notes, Tips & Substitutions:
- Do not use marzipan for this recipe; it’s not the same as almond paste.
- Use the higher amount of almond extract for a stronger taste.
- For gluten free cookies, use King Arthur Measure For Measure Gluten Free Flour. It’s a 1:1 GF flour, so it’s an even swap.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion the sticky dough.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F/160 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the almond paste into chunks (it’s easier to blend this way). Add to the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and almond extract. Blend until combined- the texture should look like wet sand.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg whites until very frothy.
- Add the egg whites and flour to the food processor. Briefly run the machine until a smooth dough forms. Let the dough rest for 1-2 minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid. The dough should feel soft, slightly sticky, but mostly tacky. If it’s very sticky, almost wet or loose, add a sprinkle of flour and briefly pulse again.
- Add the pine nuts to a wide shallow bowl.
- Portion the dough, in tablespoon-sized scoops into the pine nuts (I use this cookie scoop for convenience).
- Roll the dough to fully coat the top, bottom and sides. Place onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to roll and coat the remaining cookie dough. Note: the dough balls can be chilled overnight at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Place the baking sheet on the center rack. Bake for 20 minutes for soft and chewy cookies (check at the 18 minute mark). They will be light golden around the edges, and pale and soft in the center. They might look slightly underdone, but this is what you want. The texture will continue to firm up once removed from the oven. For crispier cookies bake for 23-25 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
- Airtight Container: Place cooled pignoli cookies in an airtight container or a zip-top bag. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- In the Freezer: Store completely cool cookies in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature. I like to spread them out on a baking sheet.
Keywords: pine nuts, pignoli, Italian, cookies, Sicilian, almond, almond paste, sugar, egg whites, gluten free