M’s dad is a wheat farmer, so gluten-free isn’t something I’m going to be pushing anytime soon. But we kinda sorta accidentally made a cookie sans flour the other day. One of our favorite pizza places (Mici down in North Cherry Creek) has these delish Italian cookies, pignolis, which I assumed were way too hard to make. Almond biscuity (as opposed to biscotti) base with pine nuts on top. Gotta be hard, I thought, so I tried the google machine and the top five recipes all required almond paste … which violates my rule about buying an ingredient that I’ll only use for one thing.
That same day, flipping through the Newstand on the iPad for something new, and saw that Saveur has a sample edition of their December issue, and it’s called Italian Christmas. What’s the first recipe in there? Pignolis. And how do they make them? Not with almond paste, but with a couple cups of blanched almonds and some sugar, run through a food processor.
2 cups blanched almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
3 egg whites
½ cup pine nuts
Fire up the oven to 300º. Mix the almonds and granulated sugar in a food processor for about four minutes, until all of the almonds are finely ground.
Add the powdered sugar and pulse a few times, and then add the egg whites and mix until you’ve formed a smooth dough.
Scoop the dough into a piping bag, and using a ½ inch round tip, make one inch mounds on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. With a teaspoon, gently press 8-10 pine nuts into each mound.
Bake for about 25 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.