I’m heading back to my hometown in a few days to visit family for Christmas. I can’t wait! I mean, is there anything better than visiting Grandma on Christmas? In honor of the season, I’m sharing with you a traditional Italian Pignoli Cookie recipe from my Grandma (veganized, of course).
Ever since I can remember, my Grandma has been making these pignoli cookies. She makes huge batches and keeps them in her freezer. Then, whenever we come over for a family dinner, she’ll defrost a few and throw them on top of a beautiful Italian cookie platter filled with all sorts of deliciousness.
They are seriously one of those most delicious cookies ever. The first time Matt tried them, he was totally hooked. If you’re from New York, you knooooow all about the Italian bakeries where you order cookies BY THE POUND, wrapped in a white cardboard box and tied with red candy-striped twine. That’s something I miss about living back there, although Colorado has it’s own perks that I love too.
The original recipe calls for egg-whites – in fact, there is no butter or flour involved in the classic cookie recipe – and I did try baking this recipe using aquafaba as a replacement. However, the cookies didn’t turn out too well when I did that. They actually just made a huge mess! They needed some substance to them, some flour, and some butter to keep it chewy.
I used Earth Balance buttery sticks and I would recommend that, when buying Earth Balance, always buy the soy-free sticks because some people notice a funky taste when they use the regular sticks due to the flax oil. Just a pro-tip, but if all you have is regular buttery sticks then it will be okay!
I hope you like these traditional pignoli cookies! If you make this recipe, take a photo tag us on Instagram @pastabased or leave a comment below!
A vegan remix of the chewy, soft, classic Italian holiday pignoli cookie. Made with almond paste and studded with mild pine nuts (also called pignoli).
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of salt
- 8 ounces almond paste
- 1/2 cup earth balance buttery sticks* (softened at room temperature)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup pignoli (pine) nuts
Add slivered almonds to a food processor and pulse to make a fine almond meal.
Add powdered sugar, water, almond extract, and salt and continue to pulse until a sticky dough forms.
Preheat oven to 325°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat almond paste, butter, sugar and almond extract with a hand-mixer until creamy.
Sift all-purpose flour and baking powder into bowl. Using a spoon, mix to combine until a smooth cookie dough forms.
Pour pine nuts into a shallow bowl or dish. Roll a tablespoon-sized piece of dough into a ball.
Gently push the dough ball into the pine nuts, smushing to flatten a little bit and letting the nuts stick to the top of the dough.
Place dough on a prepared baking sheet, nut-side up. Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Let cool.
*If you can find the soy-free earth balance buttery sticks, get those instead of the original. Some people have found that the flax oil in the original recipe has a funky taste.