Pine nuts have such incredible and delicate flavor in both savory and sweet dishes. Classic basil pesto sauce just isn’t the same without them! They are also incredible baked into classic Italian cookies called pignoli cookies. My Nana Lulu would make these and I lived for them. This week I put a twist on them and incorporated the wonderful Lebanese spices that I learned from my Nana Jeanie to get the best of both of my grandmothers! These spiced pignoli cookies were so flavorful and full of texture. The flavor key was the fantastic Middle Eastern spice called mahlab, just like in my Lebanese pastry. It generally comes in seed form and that is perfect for this recipe. It can be hard to find in the store but I get it from my favorite spice shop here!
Once the cookies cooled, I couldn’t wait to snack on one. Oh my goodness they were nutty, crunchy, sweet and gorgeously spiced. It was everything I was craving in a cookie! Best of all they were a yummy tribute to both of my grandmothers. Hope you all enjoy! xoxo
These spiced pignoli cookies are so simple to make and an amazing snack! They are an Italian classic cookie with a bit of a Lebanese twist for a perfect combination.
- 1 1/4 cups pignoli (pine) nuts divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup almond paste
- 1 tablespoon Mahlab seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set up a food processor and combine 3/4 cup of the pignoli nuts, sugar, almond paste and mahlab seeds in its bowl. Pulse them together until they are fine crumbs. Add the vanilla and egg in next and pulse them in until a wet dough. Lastly add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder and pulse them in just until they disappear.
- Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of pignoli nuts into a shallow bowl. Then scoop out a mound of dough using a heaping 1.5 inch cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the pignoli nuts and gently press the nuts in to coat the dough. Transfer the dough to the lined sheet, press it down into a disc and repeat until you have a dozen cookies on the tray. Bake the spiced pignoli cookies for about 20 minutes, until they are golden and baked through.
- When they are done let them cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a rack to finish cooling. Enjoy them right away or whenever you'd like. They will keep in a sealed container for 3-4 days!