it's about time i share a holiday cookie recipe. and this one is a family favorite - a recipe that my mom and i make each year, and eat more than i'd like to admit. when i was younger, a few days before christmas my dad would take me and my brother down to arthur avenue in the bronx, an old italian neighborhood that my dad grew up in. we would visit some of the same butcher shops, grocers, and bakeries my dad frequented as a child, and we would purchase items for our christmas eve feast. the ravioli came from borgatti's where mrs. borgatti, her husband, and grandchildren would roll fresh pasta and ravioli right in front of us. then, it was off to mike's deli to pick up italian sausage (something i never ever ate), where i remember standing eye-to-eye with a case holding beef tongue, and pig snout, and being totally intrigued, while simultaneously being disgusted. on our last stop, we would visit delallo's bakery and pick up a couple pounds of pignoli nut cookies and quaresimali (a super crunchy and chunky biscotti) because they were my parents' favorites.
we stopped going to arthur avenue mostly because we just didn't eat the same way we used to. but my mom missed her pignoli nut cookies dearly, so we started baking them a few years back, along with some other favorite christmas cookies. and as we did, they became a total favorite of mine as well. this recipe is naturally gluten, grain and dairy-free, just by nature of how a traditional pignoli nut cookie is made. the base consists of either almond and granulated sugar, or almond paste. it's mixed with egg whites and confectioners' sugar, and topped with pignoli nuts (pine nuts). they're crunchy, chewy, sweet, nutty, aromatic, and zesty all at the same time! and they're a super easy to put together during this busy time of year.
happy hanukkah! and happy holiday season! xo
satsuma + rosemary pignoli nut cookies (gluten + dairy free)
| makes 64 bite size cookies or 32 large cookies |
recipe slightly adapted from Saveur
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon satsuma zest (any citrus zest will work though)
- 1/2-1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (depending on how strong you want it)
- 1 cup organic confectioners' sugar, more for dusting
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup pignoli nuts
- preheat oven to 300° and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. set aside.
- in a food processor fitted with a metal S-blade, combine almonds and granulated sugar; pulse together for a couple of minutes until you have a fine almond meal. add the zest, rosemary, egg whites, and confectioners' sugar and pulse until dough comes together. transfer cookie dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round nozzle, (alternatively, you can use a large ziploc bag with a snipped corner) and pipe dough out making 1 or 2-inch cookies. for bite size cookies, press 6-7 pine nuts into cookie; for large cookies press 10-12 pine nuts into cookies
- bake, rotating cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back, halfway through cooking, until lightly golden, about 25 minutes (*note: if making bite size cookies, check them after 20 minutes for doneness.)
- transfer to a rack, and let cool completely before dusting with confectioners' sugar and serving
- cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days