The cookie book is off to the printers and we are thoroughly excited about sharing a few more recipes with you. For those who were at the Toronto Veggie Food Fair, did you catch Terry and her cooking/baking demos? Here she is kissing our book cover at the Book Expo this past summer.
It will be out in stores in early November, but you can preorder the book on Amazon or where ever you like! Now on to today’s recipe.
Pignoli Almond Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
You may simply knows these are “pignoli,” the rice almond buttery cookie with the dense, chewy center and a smattering of pine nuts. I’ve been missing Brooklyn a lot lately, especially around autumn, and these cookies are an Italian (and Jewish) bakery staple. The bakeries in Brooklyn are a little bit different from the kind of hoity toity 4-dollar-cookie bakery we find across the country these days. For one thing, you could buy cookies by the pound. And for another, the cases were overflowing. It wasn’t about buying one cookie to nibble on while you pretended to work on your lap top. It was buying a box, tied up with red string, to bring and share where ever you were going. It wasn’t a birthday party (or a funeral) if it didn’t end with a big cardboard box of colorful, chewy, chunky, crispy, crumbly cookies.
Pingolis were a staple in that box. If you know what I’m talking about you’re probably already in the kitchen unwrapping your almond paste. If you don’t, well, try these heavenly bites and join us.
Note: These cookies are super-soft right out of the oven, so be sure to allow them a full five minutes to firm up on the cookie sheet before transferring to racks to complete cooling.
7 ounces almond paste, sliced into 1 inch cubes (not marzipan)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 to 3 tablespoons almond milk for dipping
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a medium sized baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pulse almond paste, salt, baking powder and 1/3 cup sugar in a food processor until mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute.
In a large bowl cream together margarine and remaining 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add almond paste mixture and almond extract and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift in flour and beat until a slightly crumbly yet soft dough forms. Dough should form a soft mass when pressed together.
Pour pine nuts into a shallow bowl and pour 2 Tablespoons of almond milk into a small saucer. For each cookie, roll 1 tablespoon of dough in palms to form into a ball, dip one end in almond milk and press moistened end into pine nuts. If necessary press pine nuts into surface of ball. Place dough balls, pine nut side up, on baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 14 minutes until cookies have puffed and spread a little, and nuts are are just slightly toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes to firm up before carefully transferring to cooling rack. Store in a tightly covered container.
Is it possible to use a different margarine? I don’t have Earth Balance where I live. Secondly, do these cookies taste like marzipan? I like the kind of paste that is in almond croissants, but not marzipan.