There’s no prettier cookie to serve at tea time then these pignoli studded bites. The addition of almond paste makes for an incredibly tender, moist dough while a bit of finely grated orange zest cuts through the richness of the nuts. Because they use powdered sugar, instead of granulated, these cookies really do melt in your mouth. Be careful when shopping for almond paste that you don’t accidentally pick up marzipan (often sold right next to one another). While they are made of the same ingredients—ground almonds, sugar, and some sort of binder like corn syrup or egg whites—almond paste is less sweet and more coarsely ground.
14 ounces almond paste
1¼ cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1¼ cups pine nuts
How to Make It
Crumble almond paste into a bowl; add powdered sugar and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture is evenly combined and looks sandy, about 3 minutes. Beat in orange zest. On medium speed, add egg whites in three additions, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon mixture by scant tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each cookie with about 1 teaspoon pine nuts. Bake until light golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool on pans about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
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