Vegan Pignoli Almond Cookies


I had a yearning for a chewy , almond paste cookie with a crisp crust enrobed in almonds and an amazing dense chewy almond paste center when bitten into . In all my travels to italy , France and Morocco , where almonds are included in most speciality cookies , I have stopped at bakeries and indulged . The most exqusite almond paste cookies are , however , from a gorgeous cafe in Malta , with hand painted frescos on the celings and food and especially a variety of almond cookies to swoon over . This cookie from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and terry Hope Romero come close to perfect , the only change I made was to roll them in roasted slivered blanched almonds prior to baking instead of pine nuts as I really prefer almonds .

Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

7  oz almond paste , sliced into 1 inch cubes

A pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine , softened

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup pine nuts ( I used 6 oz toasted slivered blanched almonds )

2 to 3 Tbs almond milk for dipping

Preheat oven to 325*F . line 2 medium size sheets with parchment paper.

Pulse almond paste , salt , baking powder , and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a food processor until mixture is crumbly , about 1 minute.

In a large bowl , cream together the margarine and remaining 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy , about 2 minutes . Add almond paste mixture and almond extract and beat until fluffy. Sift in the flour and beat until a slightly crumbly yet soft dough forms .

Pour the pine nuts (or almonds ) into a shallow bowl and pour 2 Tbs of almond milk into a small saucer . For each cookie scoop 1 tbs of dough and roll it in your palmsto form into a ball . Dip one end of the ball in the almond milk and press this moistened end into pine nuts ( I rolled the whole ball into the almonds ) . If necessary , use your fingers to press the nuts into the dough . Place the balls , pine nut side up on a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart . Bake for 14 minutes until cookies have puffed and spread a little and the nuts have just slightly toasted .

Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to firm up before carefully transferring them to wire racks . Store in an airtight covered container .

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10 Responses

  1. Is this from the vegan cookies book? Never had cookies with pine nuts. Seems like a tasty recipe. Thanks for posting!

    • Yes as a matter of fact these cookies are from that wonderful book . As I mentioned in my post I made these cookies with almonds instead as I prefer their flavor , but Pinoli ( pine nuts ) are really popular too .

  2. These look really good! I think you made the right call with the almonds.

  3. These look delicious – but be careful with the almonds! Almonds aren’t vegan.

  4. This recipe sounds good but I have a couple of questions. 1. What kind of sugar did you use because white sugar is chemically bleached. 2. What kind of almond paste did you use because the almond paste I found contains sugar and potassium sorbate? Please let me know if you have vegan alternatives to these products. Thanks for the recipe and the anticipated info. T.

    • Hi Tina,
      I use a vegan granulated sugar from Whole Foods , but , I believe an organic granulated sugar would work too . I know commercially prepared almond paste contains sugar , but I am still trying to source a vegan one , will update you if I find one . As for the potassium sorbate , it is used as a preservative and , I believe , would be in any comercially prepared almond paste.

  5. Of course almonds are vegan!

  6. OMG what am I doing wrong?? Mine are flat as pancakes!! I’ve gone over the recipe and I didn’t miss a thing????? Any suggestions??

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