Mr. Vallone’s Italian Cookies from the Pastry Queen

March 24, 2011

I’ve been intrigued by cookies with pine nuts for a while, but hadn’t done more than bookmark a couple of recipes to try someday. So when I saw this recipe in the copy of the The Pastry Queen Christmas, I asked Michele if she’d like to make them with me. These are a unique cookie: chewy, sweet, and gluten-free.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from these. After making them, I’m not sure what to think of them. They are really sweet and chewy, and they pack an almond punch. The pine nuts make them look really cute, but really, with all the almond flavor in the cookie, I think almonds on top would taste better than the pine nuts. Oh the irony of wanting to make a pine nut cookie and then wanting to replace the pine nuts! Be sure to click over to Michele’s blog to see what she thought of these.

Shopping tip: If you live near a World Market store, you may be able to find this Marzipan for Baking. I paid $3.99 for one 4.9 oz package. A smaller package of a different brand from my grocery store was well over $5.00.

Recipe notes:

  • You could drop the dough using a teaspoon, but I used a cookie scoop and the cookies were perfectly round after baking.
  • It is labor-intensive to press the nuts onto the cookie dough. After making these, I wondered if I could have put the nuts in a shallow dish and rolled the top and sides of the dough balls in the nuts.
  • The original recipe says to spray the parchment with nonstick spray; I didn’t do that and didn’t have any trouble removing the cookies from the parchment.
  • I didn’t use all of the pine nuts. I guess you’re supposed to wedge more on each cookie!

Mr. Vallone’s Italian Cookies

from The Pastry Queen Christmas

2 cans (8oz each) almond paste (my almond paste didn’t come in a can, but I used the same amount of ounces)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup pine nuts (pignoli)

Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the almond paste, sugar, and salt on medium speed until crumbly (about 1 minute). Add the egg whites and honey and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.

Using a 1-inch scoop, drop mounds of dough 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets. Press the pine nuts into the tops and sides of the cookies. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cookies are a deep golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely before removing the cookies from the baking sheets.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze up to 1 month. Makes about 48 cookies.


  1. I’ve never tried a pine nut cookie but almond cookies (with pine nuts) sound good.

  2. Wow! Your cookies came out perfectly; mine are a bit of a mess by comparison. This was a neat recipe to try and a good learning experience. It’s always fun to bake along with you!

  3. Those cookies look absolutely perfect!

    I think I would have preferred the almonds, too!

  4. Those look really good, I just love pine nuts, there is really nothing else that has that exact taste. This next section of Modern Baker has a pine nut tart that I am eager to make…and it has lemon in it, too! I should make these cookies just to see what they are all about.

  5. I can’t imagine how you could have wedged more pine nuts on those cookies!
    I love using pine nuts in savory recipes, but I hadn’t thought of using them in cookies before. And reading the previous comment, the pine nut tart sounds intriguing too.

  6. They do look cute, even if they weren’t what you had hoped for.

  7. The cookies look great, Jill! I love pine nuts, but have only had them in savory dishes. Thanks for the information on where to buy marzipan at a reasonable price – it’s normally so expensive.

  8. I love pine nut cookies, Jill, and will have to try this recipe. I thought Michele’s looked good, too, even though she says she messed up the recipe. You could have fooled me!

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