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.
I got 36 cookies. I dropped them on the pan for the first batch, dropped them and flattened them with a flour covered spoon for the second batch (my favorites), then dropped, flattened and added the starburst pattern for the third batch. I don't think you need the extra pine nuts - they just add time and trouble. These cookies are quite tasty and have a wonderful crunch. This is a recipe I will make again.
If you like crispy, buttery cookies, then try these! Wonderful with coffee or tea. This recipe only makes about 30 cookies, not the 48 that it says (unless they were tiny). The dough is VERY sticky - I chilled for about an hour but longer would have been better. So sticky that I did not bother to roll into balls - just put spoonfuls on the parchment. My "starburst" of pine nuts migrated all over the cookie but still looks nice. Eleven minutes in my oven was plenty.
These are delicious. A couple of hints. 1. I chilled the dough overnight before rolling into balls, which made it easier to work with. 2. Be careful not to over-process the pine nuts and turn them to nut butter. 3. I think 14 minutes would be way too long on most ovens; 12 was perfect for mine. 4. I got just under 3 dozen cookies, definitely not 4, as the recipe says.
I made this cookie recipe exactly as written and it made half the number of cookies, which were slightly overcooked. When I made the second batch I baked them for 11-12 minutes and they were much better. I did, however, have to double the recipe to make 48 cookies. They tasted buttery and slightly nutty...very good. I tried processing the pine nuts with a tsp. of flour so the pine nut flour would not be as chunky.
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