Gluten free Italian pignoli cookies, also known as Amaretti con Pignoli, are perfect for Christmas. You might like to add these wonderful Italian almond and pine nut cookies to your easy gluten free baking list for the holidays. You only need 5 ingredients to make the best Italian Christmas cookies too.
These Italian cookies are naturally gluten free and this is an easy recipe too, so you have more than one reason to make them! These golden brown chewy cookie bites are one of the yummiest sweet Italian recipes for Christmas time. This authentic Italian pignoli cookie recipe, all the way from Southern Italy, are the favourite Christmas cookies of many cookie fans.
Pignoli Cookie Ingredients
Along with almond paste, the main ingredient, you need sugar, pine nuts, egg whites, and salt for these classic Italian cookies. The sweetness of the almond paste pairs beautifully with the earthy, nutty taste of the pine nuts. Being crisp on the outside but chewy on the inside makes these almond and pine nut cookies perfectly delicious.
Make sure you use almond paste and not marzipan. Almond paste is a mixture of almonds, sugar, and egg whites that are processed into a smooth confection used as a baking ingredient in cookies, cakes and other desserts. The main ingredients of almond paste are the same used in marzipan but different proportions. Almond paste is not as sweet, coarser and a more nutty flavor. If you can’t find good quality canned almond paste at the store, you can make homemade almond paste.
How to Make Pignoli Cookies
Add the almond paste, sugar and salt to a food processer and pulse a few times until it’s the consistency of sand. Next add the egg whites to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into pieces to make the cookies. You should get about 25 gluten free Italian pignoli cookies from the mixture.
Roll each dough ball in pine nuts then arrange them on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Silicon baking mats would be an alternative. Finally bake them, allow them to cool on wire racks, and dust in powdered sugar.
Known in Italy as ‘amaretti con pignoli’, these are one of the best Italian Christmas cookies. I just love that nutty flavour! The following pignoli cookie recipe is an authentic recreation of the classic cookies that you’ll find in any Italian bakery during the holidays.
They always get rave reviews for their nutty flavour and chewy center. These simple cookies are definitely a very popular Italian cookie. They are one of my favourite cookies this time of year.
How to Store Gluten Free Italian Pignoli Cookies
This traditional Italian cookie won’t keep that long, so if you aren’t going to eat the almond and pine nut cookies within a day or so, freeze them. You can thaw the authentic Italian pine nut cookies as needed.
As for pine nuts, they are rich in oil meaning they spoil quicker than some other nuts. Crunchy pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees.
They will keep for about 4 weeks at room temperature in an airtight container. You can also keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 months or freeze them for up to 9 months. Not only are they ideal for making delicious pignoli cookies but they are used in other cookie recipes too, as well as side dishes.
One interesting fact about a pignoli cookie recipe is if you bake them for longer they will come out chewy while if you bake them for less time they will be softer. I prefer chewy centers and crisp exteriors when I make this Italian classic cookie for my holiday cookie tray.
It’s definitely worthwhile adding this pignoli cookie recipe to your easy gluten free holiday baking list. They are naturally free from gluten since they are made from egg whites and almond paste rather than flour and other typical cookie ingredients.
Even if you aren’t especially looking for a gluten free recipe, these are delicious and special. They’re a great idea for fans of almond flavor nut cookies since you can enjoy the amazing flavours of both almonds and pine nuts in these.
How to Serve Italian Pignoli Cookies
These gluten free Italian cookies are lovely with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. They’re a festive type of cookie but whenever you’re craving almond and pine nut cookies these are perfect, Christmas or not! Pine nut cookies are perfect year round.
Find these cookies and others in my holiday cookie box
Pignoli Cookies FAQs
One great thing about these gluten free Italian pignoli cookies is you can make them keto-friendly! So if you’re looking for easy gluten free holiday baking ideas with fewer carbs, make these. Ensure you’re using 100% almond butter instead of sweetened almond paste and swap the sugar for Swerve or your favourite artificial sweetener. Sprinkle finely ground sweetener over them before serving.
Made this way, they will only be 1 or 2 net carbs per piece, making them ideal for keto eating! These are perhaps the best Italian Christmas cookies if you want a low carb idea.
Well the main ingredient in almond and pine nut cookies is pine nuts. However, if you love nuts but aren’t keen on pine nuts, you can make a variation of the recipe. Substitute slivered almonds for the pine nuts and you can still enjoy a nutty tasting cookie. They won’t be authentic pignoli but they will still be delicious! Another idea would be rolling the dough in chopped mixed nuts.
If you do love pine nuts then by all means use those. Feel free to go ahead and add more to the recipe if you want. There is no such thing as ‘too many pine nuts’ so roll the dough in pine nuts until they’re completely covered, to make the very best and most traditional Italian pignoli! You can often find large bags of pine nuts at Costco for a great price.
Yes, pignoli cookies are naturally gluten free cookies so perfect for someone that is a celiac or with a gluten sensitivity. Gluten free Italian recipes like this are delicious.
Italian Pignoli Cookies Recipe
Gluten Free Italian Pignoli Cookies
- 16 Ounces almond paste
- 1 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
- 8 Ounces pine nuts
- 3 egg whites large
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare one or two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Pour the pine nuts into a small bowl or onto a small plate.
- Place the almond paste into a food processor with the salt and sugar. Process by pulsing until combined into a sandy texture.
- Once the mixture is nice and sandy, add in one egg white at a time, giving a few pulses between each egg white. After adding the final egg white, run the food processor until it creates a soft smooth dough.
- Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop enough dough into the palm of your hand to create a 1” round ball. Roll the dough between your palms until it is a nice round shape. The dough may be a little sticky, so you can use a little oil on your hands if needed to help prevent sticking.
- Take the ball of dough and roll into some pine nuts, then place onto your prepared baking sheets, about 2 to 2.5” apart.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are slightly golden.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Let me know if you try to make these gluten free almond and pine nut cookies for Christmas. This authentic Italian pignoli cookie recipe makes the BEST Christmas cookies and always a family favourite. Perfect for Christmas holiday cookie exchanges or cookie boxes. Gluten free pignoli cookies are a recipe that I make every holiday season.
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.