Note: This is a special post requested by my sweet niece, Anglea who is a new Mom to Anthony! Congratulations, Angie and Joe! – Love, Tia
At Christmas every year I like to make a large variety of cookies. There is nothing like having people drop over and having a freezer full of cookies to make a quick cookie tray with. I like to have lots of different tastes and textures with my cookie trays. I make marshmallows, sugar cookies, spice cookies, several types of chocolate cookies and especially anise cookies (a family favorite). But this cookie… ah, this cookie is one that most people come back for. It is satisfying in so many ways. Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, the crunch of toasted almonds and the scent of it will make you smile. If you are Italian, you will know this cookie well, your Nona will have made it for you with love!
One thing I noticed about this cookie this year, was that all my gluten-free friends can enjoy it too! No flour at all. Plan on making pudding or ice cream or mayo when you make this cookie as you will have some leftover egg yolks to use.
I hope you enjoy and remember to hug Nona!
Italian Almond Paste Cookies
2-8oz. cans of almond paste (not marzipan)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 egg whites, beaten lightly with a fork until frothy (use the yolks for something else)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
Pine nuts or Slivered toasted almonds
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling.
Arrange your oven racks to divide the oven in thirds. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment papers. There is no fat in these cookies. Put the almond paste and the sugar in your food processor and pulse until there are no chunks of almond paste left. Pour the almonds and sugar into a bowl and add the three egg whites, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla and salt. Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of batter onto the sheets, until you have 12 on each cookie sheet. Put 4-5 pignoli or slivered almonds on the dough and press in slightly. Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the dough in both pans place the pans in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, take out both trays, and switch their spots in the oven for even heating. Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until lightly golden on the edges.
Let cool for quite a while before removing from the sheets