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Pignoli cookies

(Gretchen Ertl for The Globe)
December 16, 2009

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Makes about 35

Matthew Blake purchases almond paste in large chunks from an Italian deli, but you can also use the kind sold in tubes (such as Odense brand) available at most markets. Don’t confuse almond paste with marzipan, which is a sweeter, slightly different textured paste. You can substitute chopped, slivered almonds for the pine nuts.

12 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 egg whites
12 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) pine nuts
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor, chop the almond paste into fine crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse a few times to blend thoroughly. Transfer the almond mixture to a large bowl. (You can also crumble the almond paste and mix in the sugar in a large bowl using your fingers.)

3. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Stir the whites into the almond mixture and blend fully.

4. Place the pine nuts in a medium bowl. Shape the dough into balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in the nuts, covering the dough almost completely. Set the cookies 2 inches apart on the sheet.

5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cookies are nicely golden. Cool for at least 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Adapted from Matthew Blake