These are my number one absolute favorite cookie of all time. They remind me of childhood. They remind me of good times during the holidays. It reminds me of the massive gatherings during the holidays with family and amaretto is my favorite flavor. Pignoli means “pine nuts” in Italian hence the pine nuts topped on these unique cookies. They’re most commonly found in Sicily but you can pretty much find them anywhere during the holidays. Because pine nuts are expensive and so is almond paste (the main ingredient), these are typically made only during the holiday season or a special occasion.
While pignoli cookies are a more of a luxury to make than your typical average cookie, they are super easy to make and require not a whole lot of time at all. The outside should have a light crusty crunch that leads you to a center right under the pine nuts to a chewy bite that will melt in our mouth like heaven! If you love almond paste, amaretto (almond) liqueurs then without a doubt you’ll be wanting to make these every year.
When you’re making the dough, you’ll come to find that it’s very sticky and difficult to use a spoon to place the cookies on a baking sheet without creating a big ole mess. So, save yourself the TIME & STRESS and go buy yourself a medium-sized cookie dough scooper (holds about 1.5 tablespoons in a scoop)! You can find these almost anywhere nowadays. I got mine through Amazon Prime for about $6 and it showed up in two days. The OXO Good Grips brand for this particular baking tool is fantastic and does not rust!
Have ready two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and a medium cookie dough scooper (1.5 tablespoons).
Crumble up the almond paste with your fingers into a bowl of a standing mixer. Then, run it through together with the sugar until it’s almost incorporated (It will appear as pebbles covered in sugar).
Add one egg white at a time until the dough smoothes out. Then, add in the powdered sugar, flour, and almond extract until it’s well mixed together. The dough will appear sticky and very moist.
Use the cookie dough scooper to place the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet. Cover the top of each one with pine nuts (about 15-20 pine nuts each).
Bake at 350 F degree for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the bottom edges are golden.