It’s hard to believe we are at the end of the first week in December! Time to start baking our family’s traditional Christmas cookies to have ready to mail out to family members on the West Coast & beyond.
If you’ve never tried these recipes before, this is the time to start. Nothing says it’s the beginning of the holiday season like baking our Italian bakery-style cookies. They are delicious! My 8-year-old grandson is visiting from NY and he said the Rainbow Cookies are “Amazing”…music to our ears!
Make sure you have plenty of all-purpose flour, butter, almond paste, chopped pistachios, pignolias (pine nuts), chopped dates, and bittersweet chocolate chips on hand because these cookies fly off the plates.
Every year we start our holiday baking about 2 weeks before Christmas. We have been baking together for over 40 years, a holiday tradition we love. Christmas music is playing in the background while we reminisce about our childhood & Christmas's of long ago. Our all-time favorite holiday cookie is the fragrant, chewy almond Pignoli cookie. Pignolias (aka pine nuts) are from the Italian Stone Pine trees of the Meditteranean regions of Spain, Portugal & Italy. The Asian pignolias from China are not as flavorful as the Meditteranean pignolias so we avoid using them. You can tell they are from China by their much cheaper price tag. Our pignoli cookies taste just like the ones from the best Italian bakeries in New York. They fly off the holiday cookie tray...you and your family will love them. ❤️❤️
1 (8oz) box or can of almond paste (do not use almond filling)
2 large egg whites
1 cup Mediterranean Pignolias
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup unsifted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
1/8 tsp salt
Confectioners’ sugar for light dusting
Using a Convection oven, preheat the oven to 275ºF. (If using a regular oven increase temperature to 300ºF.)
Line 2 large cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silicone pad or grease 2 large cookie sheets if parchment paper or silicone pad isn’t an option.
Sift granulated sugar and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with flour and salt. Set aside.
Using a fork, break up the almond paste into small pieces in a medium bowl. Add egg whites and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, until well blended and smooth.
With a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Using a teaspoon of dough, roll into a round ball approximately 1-inch diameter. Roll the ball around in the dish with pignoli nuts to cover. Place 2-inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Do not flatten.
Bake slowly for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven, until golden. The edges of the cookies should be golden but the tops will be lighter.
Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
When cooled, lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar or leave plain. Either way, they are delicious.
Store several days in a tightly covered container to mellow. These will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored properly.
1. Press half a candied cherry or maraschino cherry in the center of each cookie.
2. Using your thumb or index finger coated in confectioner’s sugar, make a thumbprint in the center and fill it with a small amount of raspberry preserves.
3. Roasted, salted pistachios can be used in place of pignolias. Bake as above.