I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Friday, March 2, 2007

I Love Almond Paste

I have loved almond paste for as long as I can remember. Whenever their was a wedding I’d wait for them to put out the Italian cookie tray and pick out all the almond paste ones. There were usually four different types of almond paste cookies on the tray; Pignoli (pine nuts), Slivered almond, crushed cashew or the ones with the halved maraschino cherry pressed in the middle. If my grandmother and Aunt went to a wedding or a function that had almond paste cookies they would wrap some up in a napkin, put it in their purse and bring them home as a surprise for me.

These cookies do not store that well, so if you need to keep them longer than a couple of days, store them in the freezer and remove them as needed. If you bake the cookies a little less, you will have a soft cookie, bake them longer and you will have a chewy cookie. There really is no need to add flour to these cookies they will still turn out fine but by adding the flour it prevents the cookies from spreading leaving you with a more uniform cookie. When done these cookies should have a light golden color.
You may completely omit the flour if you so choose.

Pignoli Cookies

1 (8 oz) Can Almond Paste
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
2 to 3 Medium Egg Whites, Lightly Beaten
8 Ounces Pine Nuts
Extra Powdered Sugar To Finish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, or use silicone linings. Place the pine nuts in a bowl.In a food processor, break up the almond paste into small pieces, and pulse with the two sugars and the flour. Once the mixture is finely ground, begin to add the egg whites a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. Depending on the humidity or the size of your egg whites, sometimes you may need all of the egg whites, while other times you won’t.Using a spoon and slightly wet hands, scoop a small spoonful of the dough, and place this into the bowl of pignoli. Roll the cookie around until it is lightly coated, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Continue forming the cookies in this manner, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking pan. Bake the cookies 20 to 25 minutes, and then cool. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

1 comment:

Butta Buns said...

Drool is cascading down my chin! There's only one place in town that make these the right way, Mike's Pastries, and I make a spectacle of myself ordering as much as I can carry! I'm so glad to have found a recipe for these finally!