Aka Italian Bakery Pine Nut Cookies, aka pine nut almond cookies, aka my favoritest cookies ever when I go to NYC because Italian bakeries in Greenville, SC aren’t really a thing.
OK, they aren’t a thing at all.
We do go to NYC every year, though (last year I was pregnant and didn’t know it, this year we might go with. a. baby. or as babyless parents), and our friend Dan sometimes gets me a version of these almond pine nut cookies from a bakery we went to together once – he’s one of Jay’s high school BFF’s and lives with his wife in daughters in Hoboken. One of the absolute highlights of our NYC trip each year is seeing them, and any cookies that are involved are just an added bonus.
If you’ve never had these, they’re completely all about the almond flavoring AND gluten free so…nut-loving health nuts (see what I did there?) unite! The almond paste is right on the baking aisle, and apparently it comes in cans but the stuff I found is boxed – 2 boxes is what you need for this recipe. The almond paste and pine nuts make this a slightly pricey recipe, but still infinitely cheaper than a plane ticket to somewhere that has these in a bakery. Also, they’re EASY to make.
First, preheat the oven to 350F and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats – something nonstick. You need the almond paste – this makes up most of the batter. Then you need egg whites, powdered sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and pine nuts. I’ve seen other versions of this recipe that have different flavorings – rosemary, citrus zest – the sky’s the limit! I used this Anne Burrell recipe – I have a mad girlcrush on that one, and really like her forearm tattoo.
First you’ll just break up the almond paste a little bit into a mixing bowl, then start to beat it with a paddle attachment. Then, add the powdered sugar slowly. The mixture will become crumbly.
When the powdered sugar is all mixed into the almond paste, separate the eggs and add the whites to the mixture – save the yolks for carbonara or give them to your dogs. Whatever works. Then add the honey, cinnamon, and salt.
Beat the mixture together for 5 more minutes on medium-high until it’s really thick and all mixed together.
Now, for cookies! We pipe these to make them nice and round. If you have a pastry bag, use that, or do it my way and use a big Ziploc. Just spoon all the batter into a bag.
Cut the tip off one corner of the bag, then pipe the cookies onto the baking sheets. They don’t need this much room in between them since they hardly spread – I actually think I could have gotten one batch of cookies on one sheet pan.
When the cookies are piped, press pine nuts onto them – as many as you can get onto each one! Just really gently press them into the tops and edges of the cookies so they stick when they bake.
Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until they’re just slightly browned at the edges, and we’re good to go!
Look how gorgeous.
Let the cookies cool for a bit on the baking sheet, then move them to racks or a plate.
TRUST ME, guys, make these this week if you have a second for one more dish. The almond flavor is just to die for, and the pine nuts make them really special, especially for a holiday. The recipe is easy too – I managed it in between baby + boob time because none of the steps are really high maintenance, and you can start and stop the recipe if you need to for baby maintenance or other life tasks.
- 15 ounces almond paste, broken into bits
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a mixing bowl (for a stand or handheld mixer), add the almond paste. Beat for 3 minutes to soften and break up a bit, then add the powdered sugar and mix until crumbly.
- Add the honey, cinnamon, salt, and egg whites to the almond mixture. Beat for 5 minutes more on medium speed until the dough is thick and evenly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to.
- Transfer the cookie dough to a pastry bag or Ziploc bag - snip the corner of one edge of the bag if that's the method you're using. Pipe the dough into 2-inch or so rounds on the baking sheets, then press as many pine nuts into the cookies as you can.
- Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned at the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to plates or racks to cool fully.
- The almond paste I found was in 8 ounces bricks and I used two - 16 ounces total. The cookies still turned out great! There are cans that measure 15 ounces, but I couldn't find that measurement.