Italian Pignoli Cookies

pignoli cookies

From time to time, my church hosts a Ladies night and they are always superb!  There is always a fun ladies-oriented message from Pastor Sue and fantastic refreshments from our very own Nana Mary.  Since the pastors’ daughter graduated from Evangel with her masters, Krystina has been hosting simultaneous girls’ nights to be able to minister to and mentor the pre-teen & teen girls.  One of these such nights is coming up on Tuesday and usually the college-and-career-age girls are asked to help whether by baking some yummies or just be there to support.  This time, the theme the girls chose was Italian.

I have a few Italian cookbooks so I was all-too-excited to get going.  So, I sat down with a big, steaming café latté, put on a lovely Dean Martin record and perused my collection.  I landed on a simple-looking recipe for Italian Pignoli cookies that consisted of 4 ingredients.  I was sold since I already had 2 of the 4!  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into…  I went to the store to pick up the latter 2 ingredients, both of them nuts.  These must have been the 2 most in-demand nuts in the world.  This batch of cookies ended up costing my pay for tutoring for a week!  Haha!

The recipe made 18 cookies, but considering I was baking for way more girls I needed to finagle the portions a bit.  I made the dough balls smaller and they still baked out to nearly the size of my palm!  By this point, I am in a great humor from all of this that I forgot all about the cost and the portions and just chuckled… and of course sneaked a taste!  (Don’t worry, I ate a gimpy one that got somehow mangled in the oven!)

The result was something like these yummy trail mix cookies that I used to buy at the Nordstrom café when I worked there.  So delightful!

Recipe:
1 2/3 c. blanched slivered almonds (I just bought a bag of whole ones & chopped them)
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 large egg whites (when they say large, they mean it.  I ended up having to use 3 “mediums”)
1 cup pignolis (pine nuts – I added 1/4 c. shopped almonds to this to make it stretch for a bigger batch)

>Preheat oven to 375.
> Grease 2 large baking sheets & set aside.
> Place pine nuts in a shallow bowl.
> Place almonds & sugar in a food processor & grind until fine. (Mine are a little bit chunkier as I was not quite as patient)
> Add the egg whites & process until the mixture is smooth. (The dough will be wet & sticky)
> Take a rounded tablespoon (mine was more of a teaspoon) & shape into a ball.
> Roll each ball in pine nutes & place in rows on greased cookie sheets leaving 2 inches between cookies.
> Bake for 13-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Don’t let nuts burn or turn dark brown (these will taste like burnt popcorn, trust me, I browned 2 of them.)
> Cool cookies on a rack. (This won’t take long especially if they’re smaller)

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