These Italian macaroon-like biscuits call for pinenuts, lending a unique flavour. These are flourless and therefore gluten free. They make delicious food gifts at Christmas.
So, let me start with a few musts-- You MUST use SOLO CANNED almond paste. The Odense in the tube doesn't work, it's too watery and will ruin the cookies. Line your pan with parchment paper. I never bake without it, and the cookies don't stick at all when you use it. As for the way I made the cookies, I dumped each ingredient one at a time into my stand mixer and no problem. Didn't beat the whites beforehand. Flouring your hands is important. It helps the eggwhites stick to the dough ball (which will give the cookies a nice gloss and help the pignoli stick) and I think it prevents them spreading- last year I used a different recipe that didn't call for it and the cookies were a disaster. Mine didn't spread at all, I should have pushed them down a bit. Anyway, they looked great, tasted better, and everyone loved them. Thanks! - 20 Dec 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I love these cookies - but you have to like almond paste. It also helps to have the right tools to make this recipe easily. #1 I can not say enough about using Reynolds RELEASE foil to line your cookie sheet! They will not stick - I used a quick spray of Pam on top, but I don't think it's necessary. Also do not use a pan with sides - the cookies will not brown properly. OK - on to the recipe - I used a food processor to crumble the almond paste and mix in the sugar ( I agree with other reviewers that you can use a little less than a cup of sugar) Then I transferred the mixture to a large mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the almond mixture. At this point, you can scoop (I used my smallest cookie scoop - 1 tablespoon - but did not fill it quite full) the mixture and then press on the pine nuts or you can chill the mixture and then use the scoop and make balls and roll the balls in pinenuts. Either way works. They do spread so give them some room on the pan. I ran out of pine nuts and used some slivered almonds which were OK, but the pine nuts are better. If I used the almonds again, I would chop them a little bit finer. Bake until lightly golden - it took mine longer than 12 minutes. Watch. With the Release Foil cooling and removing was a breeze. Chewy inside, crunch outside - if you cook longer until light brown they will be crunchy like amaretti. - 07 Mar 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
This is a wonderful recipe. A few things I've learned: 1) Use a food processor!!!! 2) refrigerate the dough for several minutes prior to shaping the cookies. This makes it much easier and is FAR less messy. 3) I always run out of pignoli when making these. 4) Scaling the recipe seems to be quite difficult to do successfully. 5) Using parchment paper for the cookie sheets is priceless. And do not remove the cookies from the surface too soon, or the middles will stick and tear out. This recipe never seems to turn out badly and is worth perfecting. I have made it again and again and it's always getting better. - 21 Jun 2008 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)