Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on December 15, 2010

What? Another cookie recipe? You bet! In fact December may just turn out to be all cookies, all the time, here at Simply…Gluten-free! I mean how do I pick out just one favorite cookie at holiday time? It is like trying to pick a favorite pair of shoes, impossible! Fortunately, I don’t have to pick.

If you have never had Pignoli Cookies I urge to literally stop what you are doing and make some – right now! Crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, sweet and utterly sublime – these cookies remind me of an old favorite I have not had the pleasure of spending time with in the last couple decades, almond croissants. There is a reason these cookies are traditional Italian Christmas favorites, they are not only incredibly delicious and naturally gluten-free, they are a snap to make and only have 5 ingredients.

Pignoli means Pine Nuts in Italian so obviously one of the ingredients is pine nuts. Who doesn’t love pine nuts? When baked on top of these cookies they become toasty and almost buttery.

The base of this cookie dough is almond paste. Not almond pie filling or marzipan but pure almond paste. I use Solo Brand which is sold in cans on the baking aisle of the grocery store. I love this stuff not just for these cookies but for other gluten-free baking as it adds structure to gluten-free baked goods and as we all know, when you take out gluten, you run the risk of taking out the structure. And this almond paste tastes AMAZING!

Lately I have been doing all my holiday baking with Wholesome Sweeteners’ organic sugar. Not only is the sugar GMO free (always a good thing), unbleached and organic but because of the way it is milled it adds a really mellow sweetness to my cookies, cakes and pies. A little of the natural molasses is left in the sugar crystals when it is milled which just gives my baked goods this really wonderful sweet something special!

I made these cookies on Daytime TV for my monthly gluten-free segment and as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, they were gobbled up by the cast and crew.

Gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free never, ever tasted so good!

Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

1 – 8 ounce can of pure almond paste (not almond filling or marzipan)
1 cup organic sugar
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
2 egg whites
¼ cup pine nuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

Break almond paste into small pieces and put into bowl of food processor. Process until almost smooth. With processor running gradually add the sugar through the feed tube. Turn off processor, add salt and egg whites and then process until it turns into a batter. Using a small (1 tablespoon) ice cream scoop or a spoon drop the dough onto the prepared pans, spacing 2 inches apart. Press a few (3 or 4) pine nuts onto each cookie.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the cookies are firm and lightly browned. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Servings

This gluten free recipe makes 36 cookies, depending on size.

Need a quick meal?

Gluten Free Recipes - Simply Gluten Free Quick MealsSimply…Gluten-Free Quick Meals is now available, with over 100 recipes not featured in my blog.

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“The “Simply” in ‘Simply … Gluten-Free Quick Meals’ doesn’t just make for a catchy title. The recipes in this cookbook truly are quick and easy to prepare. – A. C.

“I set the timer on two separate nights and made two complete meals from Carol’s latest cookbook in 30-40 minutes. They not only pleased my family, but gave me new recipes and techniques to get dinner on the table faster every night.” – W. K.

“I love the way this book is laid out – full meals I can make in no time. Love the sense of fun and humor in this book but mostly I love all the gluten free recipes -.” – J. F.

Ready for dessert?

Simply...Gluten-Free DessertsSimply…Gluten-Free Desserts is now available, with over 135 recipes not featured in my blog.

Available at bookstores including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, Books-a-Million and Amazon. You can get it also HERE.

“I can now have recipes I know I can count on for every Dessert and Breakfast occasion! I’m thrilled!” – A. M.

“I am amazed! This recipe is BETTER than the ‘regular-with-gluten’ recipe! Thanks so much, Carol” – V. P.

“I love your gluten free recipes - I can now have my desserts.” – F.R.

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Categories:    Cookies & Candies

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Helene December 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I love that you do cookie posts. Have fun baking.

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judee@glutenfreeA-Z December 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I have never had this kind of cookie. They look so good, I do feel like running and making some right now..

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Jenn December 16, 2010 at 3:50 am

I love these cookies. Great simple recipe! I've often had a bit of trouble finding GF almond paste, but it's pretty easy to make it from scratch too using egg whites, almonds, powdered sugar, and a little bit of almond extract, pretty much combine in the food processor til you have tasty almond paste :)

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The InTolerant Chef December 16, 2010 at 5:20 am

I'm glad Jenn exlained the almond paste as I've never seen it for sale over here- but it sounds yummy!

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Wendy @Celiacs in the House December 16, 2010 at 9:09 am

Oh, Carol. These sound so good. I'm not much for really sweet cookies so these are very appealing and simple. I like simple.

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Maggie December 16, 2010 at 9:13 am

Carol you have been so busy baking! I think I'll move to your house next holiday season. Is that okay?

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Anonymous December 16, 2010 at 11:09 am

Hi, i just want to say hello to the community

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Stephanie December 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I agree, December should be cookie month all the time… so many great treats you have been making. Yum!

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themommybowl.com December 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I had one of those just the other day. I love them but don't tend to make them because, well, I'd eat them all. Bad for the hips, ya know. :)

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Lexie's Kitchen December 16, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Wow! Easy peasy! Again, you're looking as lovely as ever on camera. :)xoLexie

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The HealthNOW Doctors December 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Hi Carol,Those pignoli cookies do bring back memories of going to Italian relative's homes over the holidays.Yum! Can't wait to try them.By the way, if by some necromancy you can figure out a way to make anything resembling a croissant you would be an even bigger heroine to me!!

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Maria Fitzner April 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I got what you intend, saved to fav, very nice web site .

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Maria Mathews Knowles October 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

Do these freeze well?

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CarolKicinski October 8, 2013 at 5:36 am

Yes they do! In fact I like them still a little frozen :)

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Meghan December 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Sounds yummy! Can you suggest another nut for topping? My son is allergic to pine nuts. Wondering if almond slivers or pistachios might work? Thanks!

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CarolKicinski December 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

Hi Meghan, I use almonds all the time with these cookies when I am put of pine nuts and pistachios would be great too! Enjoy.

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