This classic Italian cookie is perfect for the almond lovers in your life. You'll find this cookie in practically any Italian bakery, and it's commonly found throughout Southern Italy and Sicily. The treat is studded with "pignoli", Italian for pine nuts, and gets even more nutty flavor from a hefty amount of almond paste (one of our favorite secret weapons in baked goods for its rich, slightly sweet flavor). Egg whites help give the cookies an addictively chewy and airy texture, and also help make this cookie totally gluten-free—no flour required!
Use almond paste, not marzipan.
While some recipes work with either, pignoli cookies are best made with almond paste, which is softer than marzipan and holds up better in baking. It also has less sugar content than marzipan.
How to store pignoli cookies
Pignoli cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Layer them with sheets of wax or parchment paper.
How to freeze pignoli cookies
Like most holiday cookies, pignoli cookies can be frozen. Once cooled from baking, freeze them in a single layer on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a resealable freezer-safe plastic bag or container. Pignoli cookies are best eaten within 1 month of freezing.
Made these cookies? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!
Looking for more Italian cookies? Try our biscotti recipe!
almond paste, crumbled
large egg whites
- Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine almond paste, sugar, egg whites, and salt in food processor and pulse until smooth. Place pine nuts on shallow plate.
- With slightly dampened hands, roll dough into 1" balls. Roll balls in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick. Arrange balls on prepared sheets and flatten slightly to form a 1 1/2" round.
- Bake 16 to 18 minutes until lightly golden.
- Let cool on cookie sheet 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition (per serving): 195 calories, 4 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 99 mg sodium