Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Italian Pignoli Amaretti - Pine Nut Cookies

These holiday cookies are a legend in Beez's family. They are expensive to make, so will only be making another appearance at our house next Christmas. 

Thank you, DonnaSue, for this recipe. 

2 (8-ounce) cans almond paste (not marzipan), coarsely crumbled*
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large
egg whites
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) pine nuts 
* It is important to use canned almond paste only (the type sold in tubes is too crumbly and will not give the cookies the right consistency).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Either line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. 
In a food processor, pulse almond paste until broken up into small bits, then add powdered sugar and salt; continue to pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add egg whites and and honey; process until well combined. 

NOTE: Have a bowl of water near to dip your fingers in before rolling each cookie. This will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. 

Using a rounded teaspoon for each cookie, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cooking sheets. Lightly flatten each cookie and press some pine nuts into each cookie to cover. 
Bake cookies in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, approximately 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown and soft and springy. Remove from oven and and transfer to wire racks to cool completely before serving.
The cookies can by prepared up to 3 weeks ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Here are a couple more notes for you: Auntie Bucksnort and I found that the dough could be mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer. Use care with whatever machine you use; the dough is heavy and Cousin DonnaSue broke her food processor mixing it, making the cookies even more expensive this year. 

We sprayed the cookie sheets with Pam, rather than using a Silpat, because we had no idea what that even was. Of course, we now know that it is a no-stick silicone baking mat, but we didn't know then. They are expensive, too.

Let the cookies cool just a minute--no longer--before removing them from the pan or they will stick. 

1 comment:

Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Very delicious. But beware, they fall apart quite easily when you're transferring them. Handle with care!! Eat with abandon!! If you can afford to, that is. These cookies are worth their weight in gold!!