Italian Pignoli cookies in cookie tin with espresso in vintage white and gold cup
4 from 4 votes

Italian Pignoli Cookies

A simple but delicious Southern Italian Cookie of almond paste coated with pine nuts.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 30 cookies
Author: Greg Patent


  • 250 grams (8oz) almond paste (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2-3 cups pine nuts (as needed)

Home made Almond Paste

  • 350 grams (2 1/2 cups) ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg white


  • Break up almond paste with fingers into small pieces. Pulse in the food processor until sandy texture. Add sugar and continue to pulse until well combined. With processor running add egg whites slowly through the chute until the mixture forms a thick dough. It shouldn't be runny so you may not use all the egg white.
  • Remove mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with non stick paper.
  • Place the pine nuts into a flat bowl.
  • Drop teaspoonful of mixture into the pinenuts and toss well to coat. Pressing in pine nuts and shaping into a ball.
  • Place balls onto baking tray leaving a bit of room for spreading.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating trays to ensure even browning.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes until the cookies are firm. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in airtight container. 

To make homemade Almond Paste

  • Place almond meal into the bowl of food processor
  • Put sugar and water into a small saucepan. Don't stir just swirl over medium heat to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
  • Bring to boil. Cover the pan and cook for exactly 3 minutes.
  • Uncover the pan, swirl two or three times
  • Check the temperature of the syrup with a sugar thermometer. You need the syrup to reach 115C/240F. It should be close to the temperature.
  • Keep monitoring until the syrup is ready
  • Start the food processor and add the hot syrup through the chute in a steady stream. It should take around 10 seconds.
  • Continue to process for a minute or two.
  • Add the egg white through the chute with the motor running. Allow to combine well.
  • Remove almond paste from food processor bowl and onto work surface. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes until smooth. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least a day to allow the flavours to develop.


  • Allow extra time for resting or prepare the day ahead
  • If using store bought almond paste be sure to buy quality paste that has a high almond content. 
  • These cookies are made with homemade almond paste. Cookies made with store bought almond paste may vary.
  • If preparing homemade Almond paste allow for overnight resting or almond past can be made a 2 or 3 weeks in advance
  • These cookies are best fresh but I liked how they matured over a few days turning from soft to almost dry and crunchy.
  • However the cookies can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw them in their wrapping