serves: 30 Cookies
This one of the most classic Italian American cookies, and it is one of the easiest to make. In Italian American culture, these are simply known as pignoli cookies, the word “pignoli” referring to the pine nuts that top the cookies, a distinct Sicilian twist. The personal element in making this cookie is to ask yourself if you like it chewy or crumbly crisp—the difference is all in the baking time. With the timing given below, they will be a bit chewy, but of course it depends on how big you make them. Oh, so many variables in cooking!
2 7-ounce tubes almond paste
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
finely grated zest of one orange
1½ cups whole pine nuts
Baking sheet covered in parchment paper;
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Crumble almond paste into the work bowl of a food processor and process until the paste is in fine crumbs. Sprinkle in the sugar with the motor running. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the egg whites and orange zest. Process to make a smooth dough, about 20 to 30 seconds.
Spread the pine nuts on a plate. Form the dough into 2-tablespoon-sized balls by rolling in in between the palms of your hands, then roll the dough in the pine nuts until coated, then place on baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden and springy to the touch, about 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.