Food You Can Eat: Italian Wedding Cookie Table Pt2 – Pignoli

My extended family didn’t have Pignoli on our Cookie Tables. They’re expensive to make and it’s better to have none at all than not have enough. But I have seen them at the hoity-toity weddings of some of our wealthier relatives. They are a classic Italian cookie, chewy and delicious, naturally gluten-free as they contain no flour. I hadn’t made them for several years. It’s really no more expensive to buy them than bake them, but since the only local bakery that carried them closed due to Covid, I dug up the recipe. You will need a food processer. This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies.

  • 16 oz almond paste
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6 oz pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Make sure you’re using almond paste, not marzipan which is sweeter. This is what you want.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break the almond paste up into small pieces and put into the food processer. Add the sugar and salt and pulse until it resembles cornmeal. Add the egg whites and process until a smooth dough is formed. The dough will be sticky. Scoop into 1″ balls and roll in the pine nuts. Place on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

Bake until the pine nuts are just beginning to brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

This is what they should look like. Still round and slightly domed.

This is what my Pignoli looked like. I don’t know what happened. It may have been the humidity the day I baked them, or maybe my eggs were too big, the dough was much wetter than when I’d made them before. They spread out too much and lost a little chewiness from being too thin. They tasted fine but looked pretty sad.

I know you Deadsplinters, with all your baking skills, can do better than this.



  1. They look good to me. I am amazed at the variation I get even from a basic chocolate chip cookie, same recipe, same baker, same everything. I am sure Butcher can speak knowledgeably about the whys and wherefores.

    • Thanks, but yes, I need an expert opinion. Butcher, Meg?
      I had another baking fail that day too. Brownies, of all things! At first I thought maybe my oven was going bad but it’s been fine since then. Im leaning towards humidity.

      • If the dough was too soft to start my guess is too much liquid from the eggs? We used to measure egg whites by the ounce to make macaron…which isn’t super practical for the home chef!

  2. We always had pignoli.  The ones we didn’t have were the torcetti (which I didn’t taste until I was grown), because torcetti are from Peidmont, which is up North where the people have a stick up their asses, unlike us warm Southern Italians,  who are the real Italians and the salt of the earth and know their food.  I know all this because my grandma drilled it into me when I was very young.  She had opinions, grandma did.

  3. I love your confidence in our baking skills.

    While I know several folks around here are super skilled, I have exactly 3 desserts I feel like I bake well and none of them are cookies. 🙂

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