I have been thinking for a minute about wanting to share a holiday cookie recipe with you, but the truth is I don’t usually do a ton of holiday baking. (My mother-in-law is the baker!) It felt sort of fake to share a recipe when it’s not something I necessarily made or make. I have been thinking lately about how my Italian (step) family were always huge on baking and remembering the copies I have of my great grandmother’s cookbook and thought it would be lovely to pull something out of her handwritten recipes to share with you.

This particular recipe is actually a type of macaron that originates from Sicily called a “pignoli”. (Which I didn’t know until I googled it — thanks Rachel Ray!) And I decided this was the perfect recipe to share because it utilizes fresh lemon zest which is the perfect callback to the return of the sun and the winter solstice. Citrus = the sun! And it uses pine nute and pine is clearly associated with the solstice and the power of life (rebirth of the Sun) over death (winter/darkness). Plus these cookies have that yummy seasonal almond flavor that I grew with at the holidays that just feels soooooo right. That said, let’s talk ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 can almond paste (approx 8 oz)
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest

Once you’ve got that ready here’s how to turn it into yummy, pignoli cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat almond paste, sugar, egg whites, and lemon zest until smooth.
  3. Wet hands slightly and form dough into 1″ balls.
  4. Place pine nuts in a shallow dish and press dough balls into pine nuts.
  5. Place cookies 1″ apart on cookie sheet and bake 22 – 25 min until golden brown.

According to Great Gram, this should make about 24 cookies!

Like I said earlier, the tastes of almond (and anise!) in cookies literally tastes like Christmas to me. These cookies are perfect for giving you the holiday spirit. What flavors and foods do YOU feel like the holiday season isn’t complete without? Let me know in the comments below!

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