One of my earliest memories growing up on Long Island is going to the local bakery with my Pop and our weekly order of Sunday morning pastries and hard seeded rolls. Back then bakeries were the only place where you could get your baked goods. In fact, I remember when supermarkets started adding bakeries to their stores and turning my nose to it. Baking is an art form. At the time, I couldn’t imagine people wanting to skip the experience of entering a wonderland of beautiful baked creations and the aroma of fresh bread. My siblings and I would fight over who got to go with Pop because we all knew the girl behind the counter would sometimes sneak a cookie to small children. Normally it was plain butter cookies but one time I managed to score a Pignoli Cookie.
Pignoli (pine nut) cookies have a perfect balance of a crispy outside and a softer, chewy interior that I’ve long tried to replicate. One of my favorite recipes was from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook which involves A LOT of sugar. Not going to lie, it’s divine but hey, it’s Martha Friggin Stewart! Of course it’s perfection.
Though that recipe is wonderful and worth attempting, I wanted to share a simple 4 ingredient recipe that was quick and equally delicious. It presents as “special” and I often make it as a dessert for a dinner party because it goes so well with coffee or tea. This recipe only yields about a dozen cookies but you can double it with good results. The egg whites are what makes the cookies spread a little so if you enjoy a crispy thinner cookie go ahead an add the full 2 egg whites. Still delicious!
Preheat oven to 325
Place 2 oven racks in center and towards the top.
Almond paste 8oz carton
1 1/2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 c pignoli nuts
Cut the almond paste into smaller pieces, add sugar and blend well with a hand mixer or food processor. Add egg whites and blend. On a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet place a heaping tablespoon. You can use a bakery bag and star tip but It does not have to look perfect. Carefully cover each mound with pignoli nuts.Bake on the center rack for 10 then move to upper shelf for 7 minutes or when tops look golden brown. Allow to thoroughly cool.
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