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Pignolo is a macaroon typical of Sicily, Italy. It is a very popular cookie in all of southern Italy, and in Sicilian communities in the United States. The cookie is a light golden color and studded with golden pine nuts (also called pignoli). Made with almond paste, the cookie is moist, soft and chewy beneath the pine nuts. This cookie is a popular Italian holiday treat, especially at Christmas.

Pine-nut (Pignoli) Macaroons

Use only almond paste, not marzipan or canned almond filling.

Makes 2 dozen. I usually double the recipe.

Ingredients

8-ounces almond paste, cut in small pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites, from 2 large eggs (Save the yolks for another recipe)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Pine nuts (pignoli)

Directions

Heat the oven to 325°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In an electric mixer bowl beat almond paste, sugar, egg whites, and almond extract until smooth.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls of dough 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. One sheet should hold 12 cookies.

Place pignoli (pine nuts) evenly over the top to cover and then press them gently to adhere.

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Bake 20 minutes or until the tops feel firm and dry when lightly pressed. Rotate the pans in the oven after 10 minutes.

Gently pull the parchment paper with the cookies to the kitchen counter. Cool completely on the parchment paper.

Gently remove them to a cookie tin with a tight lid.

Store airtight at room temperature. Cookies are best eaten within 2 weeks. They can be frozen and defrost quickly.

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