Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Food Blogga



4 Ratings

  • Makes about 30 cookies

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Author Notes

Biscotti may be the stars of Italian cookies but pignoli cookies are the talented understudies just waiting to be discovered. Pignoli cookies are mildly sweet yet have a full-bodied nutty flavor from almond paste that lingers pleasantly on your palate. The crispy exterior reveals a chewy interior that gently pulls away as you bite it. Once you taste a pignoli cookie, you may just think it's a star. —Food Blogga

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 cupspine nuts
  • 1 (7-ounce) tube of almond paste
  • 3/4 cupsugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoonpure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cupall-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • Powered sugar for garnish, optional
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse 1/4 cup of the pine nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Break the almond paste with your hands; add to the processor; process until just mixed. Add the sugar; process until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg whites and vanilla; process until the dough begins to come together. Add the flour and salt; process until fully blended and smooth.
  2. Pour the remaining pinenuts into a small bowl. Using a teaspoon and slightly moistened hands, take about 1 teaspoon of batter and roll it into a ball. Gently drop the ball in the pine nuts and turn until completely coated. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. Cool on racks. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. Stored in an airtight container, cookies should last for 7-10 days.


  • Cookie
  • Italian
  • Pine Nut
  • Holiday
  • Christmas
  • Vegetarian
  • Dessert
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Italian Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat

  • Patty Khuly

  • hennef7

  • ZiggyPiecrust

  • aargersi

21 Reviews

Cheryl December 15, 2022

Again, pignoli cookies never ever have wheat flour in them. I ought to know as I grew up in an Italian family. Ground almonds (or almond paste or almond flour), egg whites, sugar and pignoli. That’s all that goes into these traditional Italian cookies. This is definitely not a traditional Italian biscotti recipe for Pignoli. By the way, Biscotto is Italian for cookie (singular) and biscotti is plural for cookies.

doris T. December 15, 2022

Cheryl they are adding flour to make up for the structure that a beaten to stiff peak egg white adds, agreed this is not traditional. I am also Italian. Overall recipe does not work!

doris T. January 23, 2021

Found these to be not what a real pignoli cookie should be. Not beating the egg whites makes for not a proper cookie. My daughter wanted to try this recipe and I had the gut feeling it would not be great but I wanted to let her lead. She is 19. Very disappointed and a waste a very expensive ingredients. By the way. so annoyed this is my first review ever!!! I never do this.

helen November 24, 2019

Love the recipe but it would be helpful to include the weight of the pine nuts. How many ounces is 2.5 cups?

ellent124 November 4, 2019

Made this weekend for my mom's 95th birthday celebration. They are fabulous! Love almond macaroons and the pine nuts got toasty and delicious. Will definitely make again...I only WISH they lasted 7-10 days...not one left for me today :( ;)

FrugalCat May 3, 2018

I made pine nut cookies years ago. I just used the Toll House recipe, subbing the pine nuts for the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Bill P. January 5, 2018

Just made these today! I see the comments go back 8 years! They came out great! I cut the amount of sugar in half. The almond paste I bought was sweet enough. :)

Lynne February 12, 2018

By cutting the sugar in half, they were still ok? I was concerned about the amount of sugar and wanted to use less. The taste and consistency was ok?

Dj December 26, 2017

So glad I found this recipe! I made another recipe before trying this one, but it was too sweet. These are perfect!!

Patty K. December 8, 2015

I make a version every year but never tried these with the pine nuts ground into the almond paste before. Amps up the pine nut flavor!! Great recipe. This will be my go-to from now on. Btw, I like a cheesier cookie so I recommend rolling these into balls and leaving them uncovered in the fridge overnight before baking. They still get all caramel iced and crispy on the outside but stay chewalicious on the inside. Yummmm!

Patty K. December 8, 2015

That's "chewier" not cheesier. ;-)

AE December 27, 2013

I was apprehensive about making these because I did a bit of reading about almond paste and thought if I didn't get the type in a can, I would have a disaster on my hands. Well, that was not the case. A tube of almond paste was fine and the cookies, which I have now made a few times, are superb.

hennef7 December 29, 2010

Made them this morning with my home-made almond paste.and they are yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

ZiggyPiecrust June 20, 2010

Pignoli cookies have always been my favorite but I have never made them until today! These are just too good to only eat at Christmas time - Thank you for this recipe.
BTW - no icing sugar for me, they are perfect without it.

aargersi May 7, 2010

I finally made these last night - yum! Who needs biscotti when you can have pignoli? Double thumbs up!

AntoniaJames April 1, 2010

Hmmm, I'm thinking perhaps these would be interesting -- and tasty -- using my Savory Toasted Pine Nuts (recipe on this site) and maybe just a bit less sugar. Great recipe. Thanks for posting it!! ;o)

MaMaZu April 1, 2010

Such a great cookie!

aargersi March 29, 2010

I just noticed this recipe - and I am so glad because these are my favorite cookies on the planet OK well these and molasses ginger snaps. But THESE I have never made before and now I can so THANK YOU for the recipe!

Food B. March 31, 2010

Well, I'm so happy to hear it! They are beyond simple to make and taste better than store bought version I have ever had.

Food B. March 19, 2010

You're so welcome! I love this recipe. It's so easy.

mrslarkin March 19, 2010

Love pignoli cookies! Thanks for the recipe.

Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies Recipe on Food52 (2024)


Why are pignoli cookies so expensive? ›

Why are pignoli cookies so expensive? Pine nuts are one of the most expensive nuts in the world, mostly because they are really labor-intensive to harvest. Fortunately, making pine nut cookies at home is much more affordable than buying them from the bakery.

What's the difference between pine nuts and pignoli? ›

Pine nuts (also called pignoli or piñón nuts) are the seeds of pine trees and can be commonly found in pine cones. According to Michigan State University, the pine nuts we buy usually come from stone pine and pinyon pine trees, because they produce a larger seed that's better for eating and easier to harvest.

What are pignoli cookies made of? ›

Originating from Sicily, traditional pignoli cookies are made from almond paste, granulated sugar and egg whites. They're soft and chewy, with a crisp exterior edge (similar to macaroons). Waxy pine nuts provide an exterior crunch, which naturally compliments soft inside texture.

What is the most expensive cookie brand in the world? ›

I bought the most expensive cookies in the world, and here was my experience. Dubbed the Louis Vuitton Sweets, last crumb is a cookie brand that does weekly drops.

What is the most popular Italian cookie? ›

Most Popular Italian Cookies
  • Amaretti. These lovely almond-flavoured biscotti were supposedly first made during the Middle Ages. ...
  • Ricciarelli. ...
  • Baci di dama. ...
  • Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti. ...
  • Savoiardi. ...
  • Canestrelli. ...
  • Biscotti al Cocco. ...
  • Pizzelle.
Oct 22, 2020

Why are pignoli nuts so expensive? ›

Besides this, pine trees are also difficult to harvest and involve extremely labour-intensive processes. The cones are first hand-harvested followed by sun-drying and deshelling the cones before the nuts are extracted. Because the cones take a while to process and harvesting is difficult, the nuts are rather expensive.

What is another name for pignoli nuts? ›

pine nut, edible seed of a pine (genus Pinus). Pine nuts, small, creamy, ivory-coloured seeds—sometimes known as pine kernels and also sold as pignoli, pinyons, or piñons—have been appreciated for their exquisite flavour since prehistoric times.

Are pignoli nuts good for you? ›

Pine nuts can increase your energy levels due to their protein, iron, and magnesium. The antioxidant power of vitamin E contained in them may help keep your skin healthy and young in appearance. Additionally, regularly eating pine nuts or other seeds and nuts may help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Where did pignoli come from? ›

Pignolo or pignoli (Italian: pinolate, Italian: [pinoˈlaːte], or Italian: pignolate, Italian: [piɲɲoˈlaːte]) are a type of biscuit originating in Neapolitan, Genovese, and Umbrian cuisine. It is a popular biscuit in all of southern Italy, and in Sicilian communities in the United States.

What is an Italian cookie that starts with AP? ›

For those not familiar, pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, some type of fat (butter, shortening or oil), and flavorings (the most popular are vanilla and anise).

How long do pignoli nuts last? ›

Pine nuts should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one to two months. If you wish to extend the shelf-life, place pine nuts in a heavy-duty freezer bag in the freezer for three to six months. Once pine nuts turn rancid, they will give off an unpleasant odor and often develop a bitter taste.

What is the most expensive cookie at duch*ess Cookies? ›

A 23-carat gold-leaf covered cookie is retailing for $1,000. The world's most expensive cookie is the creation of cookie shop owner Sofia Demetriou, who launched "duch*ess Cookies" last year. The red velvet cookie has ruby chocolate and is coated with 23,000 gold leafs.

What is the most bought cookie? ›

Oreo is the best-selling cookie in the world. It is now sold in over 100 countries. Oreo was first produced in 1912 by the National Biscuit Company, now known as Na-Bis-Co.

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