Pignoli Cookies

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Pignoli Cookies finish 1 with script

Buon giorno!

 PIGNOLI COOKIES are a sacred tradition among Italians. They seem to appear in every assortment of Italian cookies whether made at home or purchased by the pound at Italian pastry shops. These are the cookies everyone sees on the Italian cookie trays that make their way to Italian weddings and every other special occasion. You might refer to them as “the gold standard” among Italian cookies.

Most recipes for these cookies are similar and fairly basic. Maybe that is because sometimes keeping it simple and sticking to basics is the best policy when dealing with something perfected by the Nonnas since time began—well maybe not quite that long! Really – why complicate it? So we won’t!

The secret that many may not have guessed is that they are SOOOO easy to make and take very little time. You won’t believe how simple they are, and yet they look like something you think is only found at the famous Ferrara’s. They are similar to a macaroon in their chewy consistency, and they can be highly addictive. Ya just can’t stop!!

You will want to make these treats again and again once you try them – perfect for holidays, weddings, parties, anytime!

Pignoli Cookies finish 2 with script


Makes: About 3 dozen plus

Prep: 25 minutes

Bake: About 20 minutes


2  8 oz. Cans Almond Paste (sold in baking section of grocer – also found in tubes)

3/4 C. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Flour

2 Tbsp. Honey

1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp. Almond Extract

Zest of 1 Fresh Lemon

2 Egg Whites

Dash Salt

1 3/4 – 2 C. Pignolis (pine nuts)

Powdered Sugar for dusting


I like to use a food processor. You can use a mixer if you like.

Pignoli Cookies 1

Put your almond paste in the processor. It’s a good idea to break it up in small pieces before mixing.

Add all ingredients to the processor except the pignoli and powdered sugar.

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Mix together well.

Then spoon out the dough into a bowl.

Pignoli Cookies 3

Place your pignoli in another bowl.

Pignoli Cookies 4

Roll the dough into small balls – about 1 1/2 inches or larger if you like. If you roll larger balls, you will have fewer cookies.

The roll the balls in the pignoli and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.

Pignoli Cookies 5

Flatten the balls slightly with a fork. This helps them to spread a little.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. You may want to add a couple of minutes more depending on your oven. You want the cookies to be a light golden color.

Pignoli Cookies 6

Remove the cookies to cool. They should be slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside like a macaroon.

PIGNOLI COOKIES —soooo easy – yet so good. An Italian dessert standard!!


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography


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