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Pignoli Cookies

June 11, 2011

The North End of Boston has come alive as summer heats up.  The lines outside Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry wrap around my block, as tourists anxiously wait to test what they’ve been told are the best sweets in the city.  I was introduced to pignoli cookies late last year by a boy who was obsessed with the ones at Mike’s.  I found myself insanely attracted to the sweet, sticky, almondy-ness of the cookies; but not so much to the boy.

I hadn’t had the cookies in several months, until I took friend visiting from San Francisco to Modern for a cannoli the other night.  While he devoured his cannoli, I tested out Modern’s pignoli cookies.  As I tore apart the sticky cookie, I realized that I had no idea how to make them.  I came home and immediately did a little google searching, and I realized how SIMPLE they were.  Six ingredients!  That’s it!

So this morning, I decided to bake up a half batch (I only had one egg on hand) to bring to the brewery today. I’ve listed the full recipe below, which should make about 40 small cookies.


2 8-oz cans of almond paste

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons mild honey

3/4 cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse almond paste until it is coarsely crumbled.  Add confectioners sugar and salt and pulse until finely blended.  In an standing mixer, combine almond paste mixture, egg whites, and honey and mix until batter is smooth.  Spoon cookies (or if you want them to look really good, use a pastry bag) onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  Press several pine nuts onto the top of each cookie. Place sheets in top and bottom third of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, switching the sheets half way through.

Cookies keep, layered between parchment paper in an airtight container, for one week.




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