MAKES 4 DOZEN
One day a large manila envelope chock full of family heirloom recipes arrived from Joe Infantino, a viewer from California. I could tell by the lovingly typed recipes and the notes that accompanied them that Joe was proud of his Italian heritage. This recipe for almond-flavored pine nut cookies was tested in my kitchen, and when I was through,
I could not keep these delicate and light-tasting cookies away from my family; they literally melt in your mouth. The preparation begins in a double boiler; make sure the water only heats to lukewarm or the eggs will curdle while they are beaten. Do not be in a hurry to remove the cookies from the baking sheet. Let them cool and set or they will crack.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon prepared almond paste (Odense brand is readily available)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour two baking sheets and set them aside.
Fill the base of a double boiler with just enough water so the bottom of the top pan does not touch the water. Add the sugar, almond paste, eggs, and salt to the top pan. Barely bring the water to a simmer and with a hand-held electric beater, beat the mixture until it is frothy like a milkshake and feels lukewarm.
Remove the top pan from the double boiler and continue to beat for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture is cool.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the egg mixture along with the almond extract. Mix the batter well; it will have the consistency of cake batter. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet, spacing each 1-inch apart as the batter will spread. Sprinkle each cookie with a few pine nuts and dust each one with confectioners' sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes or just until the edges begin to turn golden brown. The cookies should remain pale in color. Remove the baking sheets to cooling racks. Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.
Note: Did you know that pine nuts come from the stone pine tree and are time consuming to extract? That is one reason for their hefty price tag. Today most pine nuts come from China.
Want More Recipes? See My Latest Book:
Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.
Buy it now from Amazon for just $24.00
A Testimonial From Mario Batali:
This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"