Italian Pignoli Cookies

Food & Home, Rachel Maria's Recipes

Pignoli Cookies, also known as pine nut cookies, are my father’s favorite Italian Cookie. I never cared for them, as I typically gravitate towards your standard American baked goods. Brownies. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Apple Pie. But, since it was Father’s Day, this past weekend, I decided to make Pignoli Cookies, as a surprise, for my Dad. 

Both anise extract and the flavoring of almond paste are popular in Italian baked goods. They have such a distinctive flavor. You almost need to acquire a taste for either one. 

Biscotti Cookies are flavored with Anise Extract.
Pignoli Cookies
Pignoli Cookies are flavored with Almond Paste.

Italian Pignoli Cookies

I was reluctant to make Pignoli Cookies. Not just because I never really cared for them, but because my biscotti cookie took years to perfect. I honestly feel that I make the best biscotti cookieThey’re the best I’ve ever had, and pretty much everyone else that tries them. (You can find that recipe here.) 

Scott, a fan of my biscotti, definitely felt second fiddle after learning that I was baking these cookies over my biscotti. But, I rarely ever bake for my dad. And, so, it was the far-less-popular Pignoli Cookie that filled my baking sheets, this past Saturday. 

Pignoli Cookies
The batter for pignoli Cookies is very sticky. I chill the batter for at least an hour before handling.
Pignoli Cookies
Rolling the sticky batter in the pine nuts helps to make the proccess more successful.

And, wouldn’t you know? They came out great! They were soft and chewy on the inside. Crisp and firm on the exterior. I add 1/4 cup of pine nuts to the batter to bring out more of the nutty flavor. I also don’t use too much sugar, as almond paste is already very sweet.

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies

Surprisingly, Pignoli Cookies are low in fat. They contain no butter, vegetable oil, nor egg yolks. So, if you’re gonna be bad and indulge in cookies, consider trying the Pignoli Cookie! If you’ve never tried them nor cared for them, I have a feeling that this recipe may help you change your mind. 

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Yield: 24 Cookies

Pignoli Cookies


  • 2-2 1/2 cups Pine Nuts
  • 1 (7oz) Tube Almond Paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour 2 baking sheets
  3. Using a large food processor, pulse 1/4 cup of the pine nuts until finely chopped.
  4. Break up the almond paste with your fingers. Add and pulse until a nutty batter begins to form.
  5. Add 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse.
  6. Add egg white and vanilla. Pulse.
  7. Add Flour and Salt. Pulse until well combined.
  8. Consider leaving the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight). It will help firm up the batter, as it is very sticky.
  9. Pour remaining pine nuts into a shallow bowl.
  10. Using a teaspoon, roll a small teaspoon sized dollop of batter into the remaining pine nuts.
  11. Place each cookie about 2" apart on cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from baking sheet soon after it comes out of the oven.
  14. Allow cookies to cool on a cutting board.

Rachel Scheyer

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