I used to have friends over, cook an extravagent meal, and then buy a pint of ice cream for dessert because I thought making dessert was difficult. I changed that for myself. All of my desserts, like all the food I cook, are simple.
I have two favorite cookies: Venetian Tri Colors & Pignoli cookies. Here's the recipe for the pignolis. They are made with pignoli nuts, or pine nuts, sugar, egg whites, and almond paste. That's it!
Pignoli Nut Cookies
12 oz. almond paste
1/2 c. granulated white sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg whites
1 ½ cup pine nuts
Preheat oven to 325º. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix almond paste and granulated sugar in food processor until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and 2 egg whites; process until smooth.
You are going to set aside a bowl for the remaining 2 egg whites (slightly beat--this is what the pine nuts will stick to). Place the pine nuts on shallow plate. Spoon out the dough and 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 the balls on cookie sheets, and flatten slightly. Bake them for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned.
Once they are done, let them stand on cookie sheet for no more than 1 minute (otherwise they will continue to cook). Then transfer them to wire rack to cool. 2 tips when making these: 1. Put the batter in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill. This way the sticky batter will be easier to handle. 2. If the cookies stick to the parchment paper, you can moisten the back of the paper and the cookies will slide right off.