Italy: Biscotti con Pignoli

Although many people think of biscotti only as the double baked, hardened treats that we dip in our coffee or tea, biscotti is actually a generic Italian term for "cookie".

Roman pastry shops abound with pastries, cakes, cookies, and confections made with almonds. Some of the world's best almonds come from nearby Sicily and they are widely used throughout Italy. It is no wonder then that Biscotti con Pignoli (pignoli cookies made with almond paste), originated in Sicily. The sweetness in these cookies is very subtle, and the chewiness of the cookie works well with the crunchiness of the pignoli.

I have been making these cookies for over 40 years, and I still can't get enough of them. I always keep a bag of pignoli in my freezer just in case I get a craving!

Biscotti con Pignoli

3 cups almond paste (not marzipan), coarsely crumbled
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup pine nuts

Pulse almond paste in a food processor until broken up into small bits, then add confectioners sugar and salt and continue to pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat together almond mixture, egg whites, and honey in electric mixer at medium to high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place pine nuts on shallow plate. With lightly floured hands roll dough into 1 inch balls. Coat balls in egg whites, shaking off excess, then roll in pine nuts, pressing lightly to stick. Arrange balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly to form a 1-1/2 inch round.

Bake cookies until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, place on parchment paper and set aside to cool.

TIP: If you like a the cookies a bit sweeter, you can dust them with confectioner's sugar when they come out of the oven.


Paula from Only Cookware said...

What a great blog! Just love the idea of making cookies by country. I am going to keep your blog in my favorites.

Roopa said...

lovely biscottis:) you know I have never been able to make even one successful cookie, but looking at your blog, I dont feel like giving up hope to make cookies, can you tell me why my cookies always expand and become toooo crispy? they never retain shape, whatever I try (like carefully mixing them, not near any warm place while combining any ingredients, adjust oven temperature, never opening the door to check in between, refrigerating dough in fridge . all this and still i cant bake good cookies, do you have any other tips? can you tell me how you combine to make a simple flour cookie?My emnail address is

Lia said...

Thanks all for you sweet comments!

Roopa - There are several things that can impact whether a cookie holds its shape: How cold the dough is, how thick, fat to flour ratio, type of fat (butter, oil, shortening or lard, etc.). That's why some recipes are better suited for "drop" cookies (or unshaped cookies) and other recipes are better for rolled and shaped cookies.

Take a simple sugar cookie recipe. If I wanted to make "drop" cookies, I would use about 8 oz of butter. If I wanted to use the same recipe and make rolled and cut cookies that held their shape, I would only use about 5 oz of butter and would throw a little extra flour into the dough.

I'll email you with some simple recipes.

Roopa said...

Thanks a lot Lia:) I appreciate your reply and looking forward to your email:)

Anonymous said...


Jack from Cuisinart CGG-200 said...

You blog is damn informational and especially about cookies! I'm learning a lot about it from your blog.I wish our country had so many varieties of cookies available at stores.