This post was created in partnership with Colavita. All opinions are our own.
(Tapping the microphone) “Is this thing on?” A short cry of feedback rings throughout the packed theater. The audience sips their sparkling champagne, excited to hear Ryan and Adam’s acceptance speech. The Husbands continue as the final echoes of feedback vanish in the upper balcony. “You’re all so very kind. Thank you to the Baking Academy for nominating our cookie for Best Cookie of the Year and to all our wonderful readers who follow and support us. We were up against many other talented cookies, and we are so honored that our cookie recipe won this prestigious award. For those of you who haven’t yet tried our Lemon Olive Oil Pignoli Cookies, you are in for a treat…”
It’s been so fun partnering with Colavita this year. They’re a family brand with a passion for producing the highest quality olive oils and have been distributing products around the world since 1979. Today we’re using their Californian Extra Virgin Olive Oil which makes these cookies ultra-soft and chewy, blending together the vibrant flavors of Italy and California.
Pignoli are popular Italian cookies made with almond paste and egg whites, topped with golden pine nuts and a light dusting of powdered sugar. In our award-winning version, we add freshly grated lemon zest and a splash of extra virgin olive oil for a bright and citrusy take on this Sicilian classic. The first time we tried pignoli cookies at our local Eagle Rock Italian Bakery, we fell in love with the delicate almond flavor and their unforgettable chewiness. Well, today all the sweet secrets are revealed and all your cookie questions will be answered. Thankfully this recipe comes together in just minutes and you are moments away from pignoli paradise. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start baking! Buon appetito!
pignoli cookies live show!
Join us tomorrow, Tuesday August 31st at 11am PT! We will be going live on Colavita’s Instagram and baking these lemony treats from our home! Can’t wait to see you there!
Lemon Olive Oil Pignoli Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
14 ounces (397 g / about 1 1/2 cups) almond paste (see note)
1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (113 g) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Colavita Californian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup (105 g) pine nuts
Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (see note), and set aside.
Using your hands, crumble the almond paste into a food processor, then add the granulated sugar, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse until combined and no lumps remain. Add the olive oil and egg whites, and process until smooth and evenly blended. Transfer the dough to a bowl.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue placing rounds of dough on the sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each one—you should end up with 12 cookies per sheet. Gently press pine nuts over the surface of each mound of dough, using about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of nuts per cookie.
Bake until the cookies are light golden around the edges and the centers are set, 15 to 20 minutes—if baking both sheets at once, swap positions of the sheets halfway through to ensure an even bake. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely—if the cookies seem too soft to transfer, let them continue cooling on the baking sheet until firmer and easier to handle. Once cool, lightly dust each one with powdered sugar. Serve room temperature or chilled, and enjoy!
— Almond paste is sold in the baking aisle of many grocery stores and online. Do not use marzipan, which is different than almond paste and has a higher sugar content, often used for cake decorating and confections.
— Since this dough is quite sticky, nonstick parchment paper will give the best results and prevent cookies from getting stuck to the pan. If you don’t have parchment, feel free to use a silicone baking mat or aluminum foil, and be sure to grease the surface with butter or cooking spray before placing the dough to minimize sticking.
— If you don’t have a food processor, the dough can also be made using an electric mixer, or even stirred by hand if you’re looking for an arm workout.
— The cookies can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to one week.