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Desserts

Italian pignoli cookies

Italian pignoli cookies
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Many years ago I was invited to a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner. The cookie platter was a standout, especially the pine nut cookies with a hint of lemon. Perfect with a shot of espresso. Read more

Total time: 45 minutes | Makes about 20 cookies
  • 1 (7-ounce) container almond paste
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil or 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • About 1 1/4 cups pine nuts
  • Powdered sugar

Step 1Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Step 2In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a fork, beat together the almond paste, sugar and salt. Add the egg white gradually, while mixing, to form a smooth paste. Stir in the almond extract and lemon oil, and mix just until combined.

Step 3Use a very small (teaspoon-sized) cookie scoop or measuring spoon to form balls, rolling each ball in the pine nuts. Place the balls on the cookie sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart.

Step 4Bake the cookies until set and the edges are just beginning to brown, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway for even baking. Cool completely on the cookie sheet, then lightly sift powdered sugar over each cookie to garnish.


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