[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

No matter how many desserts we make ourselves or how long we've toiled, a box of cookies from Rocco's, the local Italian bakery, is always on the Vasios holiday table. Our mix has become pretty standard: an assortment of hazelnut, almond, and candied fruit biscotti, with a few rainbow cookies (all for me) and a substantial portion of pignolis. In fact we've started buying a double portion of pignoli cookies, knowing that a certain 4-foot 10-inch cookie monster has a tendency to sneak the whole batch before the meal. In case you're wondering, that cookie monster is my grandmother. She loves these cookies like no other.

I can't blame her: pignoli cookies definitely have their own unique charm. They have a sweet, pliant amaretti base made from almond paste, confectioners' sugar, honey, and egg whites. The dough is rolled into rounds and covered in sleek, slightly oily pine nuts. The baked cookies are both nutty and sweet, though the chewy texture gives them a certain lightness and finesse.

These make a beautiful treat to serve to guests. I love the contrast of textures and the chic tan on tan color scheme. They also ship well, in case you know any cookie monsters of your own.

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Pignoli Cookies »

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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