Pignoli

 

1-1/4 cups pine nuts (plus more for garnish)
1 cup whole raw almonds (not roasted)
1/2 cup sugar (8 tablespoons, divided)
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spread 1-1/4 pine nuts and the almonds on a baking sheet. Toast about 8 minutes.  Let cool.

Grind nuts in a food processor with 6 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl.  Add orange zest and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Beat 2 egg whites until fluffy.  Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the vanila and beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold into nut mixture.

Line baking sheets with either Silpat or parchment.  Form cookies into balls, about 2 teaspoons each.  I use a melon baller and dip it in water when it gets sticky.  Flatten cookies slightly.  Brush with the last egg white and press a few pine nuts in the top for garnish.

Bake until slightly golden about 14-15 minutes.

makes about 30 - 40 cookies, depending on the size you make them