Cookies may seem like one of the simplest things to bake, but they offer so many examples of what can go wrong. Lighter cookies can be even trickier because less fat means less moisture. Light cookies require precise measuring of flour—weighing is most accurate. Just a smidge too much turns a perfect cookie into a doorstop! Almond paste is an ingenious way to flavor, tenderize, and sweeten our Pine Nut Cookies because it won't cause spreading like excess sugar or warm butter will. And be sure to pull light cookies from the oven a bit sooner than you would full-fat ones—they tend to go from perfectly toasty to overbrowned quickly.
1/3 cup almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup pine nuts, divided
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Grate almond paste on large holes of a box grater. Combine paste and next 4 ingredients (through egg white) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Place 1/4 cup pine nuts in a mini food processor; pulse until finely ground. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine ground nuts, flour, and baking powder, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined.
Stack two baking sheets one on top of the other, and line the top sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into 48 equal-sized balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Press 3 to 5 of the remaining pine nuts in a sunburst shape on top of each ball. Place 12 balls 2 inches apart on the top baking sheet (keep sheets stacked). Bake 14 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat procedure 4 times.