This year has been far from normal, but we’ve been embracing it and staying home as much as possible. I’ve missed getting together with my friends, so I organized a cookie making video call with them. We each made a cookie or two and then got together a few days later (outside and masked) to swap.
I made two cookies that I never made before, and luckily they both turned out to be delicious. Are you familiar with the Italian cookie called Pignoli? It’s our favorite cookie from Termini’s in Philadelphia and I decided to try to make them. Pignoli means pine nut in Italian, and they are covered in them. The base is an almond cookie and they end up being a bit expensive since the ingredients are pricy, so just be aware of that. I think the ingredients were around $20 for a batch.
I used the recipe from Lidia, linked here. The majority of the cookie is almond paste and in a few recipes people mentioned using it from a can and not a tube. I found it in a tub from Sam’s in Willow Grove and it seemed to be really fresh.
- 1 lb almond paste
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup pine nuts
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Crumble the almond paste into a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment. Mix the almond paste to break it up. Add the sugar and continue to mix. Add the egg whites one at a time and continue to mix until incorporated and batter is smooth. Place the pine nuts into a bowl or plate. Roll a tablespoon size portion of dough in your hands to form a ball and then cover in the pine nuts. Alternately (and to save a few bucks) you can just add the pine nuts to one side (the top). Place on a cookie sheet and (optionally) smoosh with a glass to flatten them a little bit (I saw this part on a youtube video of an Italian grandma making them). They are also delicious without the nuts, so if you run out of pine nuts just bake them without.
Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, until golden on the edges. 18 minutes is perfect for my oven. Bake longer if you want them crispy, less if you want them softer.
Shortbread Cookie with Chocolate Chips and Cherries
I made adjustments to this recipe (less cherries).
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cherries (I used half maraschino and half fancy pants bourbon cherries)
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- Beat butter with a mixer. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy cream.
- Combine the flour with salt and sift. Add to the butter mixture and mix the dough.
- Remove the moisture from the chopped cherries with a paper towel and add to the dough. Add chocolate chips, mix.
- Put the dough on saran wrap and mold to form a log. Wrap the saran wrap around the dough and continue to form into a log. Place in the refrigerator for a half hour and up to overnight.
- Cut the dough into round cookies, put on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven at 325 F for about 15 minutes.
- Cool the cookies completely, then remove them from the baking sheet and serve.
I’d love to know your favorite cookie recipes and holiday traditions. Are you doing things differently this year? I like to re-imagine old traditions and do new things so I’m embracing that this year will be different from past holiday seasons.