3 dozen cookies
These cookies appear at every Italian holiday. They are simple to make, keep well for a week or more, are a great gift to give and to receive, but most of all they are delicious. Some like them chewy, some like them crunchy; the degree of crunchiness is only a matter of how long you bake them. The longer you bake them the crunchier they become.
- 1 pound canned almond paste
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup pine nuts (optional)
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, or as needed (optional)
Arrange one rack in the upper third of the oven and the other in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Crumble the almond paste into a mixing bowl. Beat with a handheld electric mixer till finely crumbled. Sprinkle the sugar over the almond paste and continue to beat until the sugar is incorporated. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time and continue beating until the batter is smooth. If using the pine nuts, spread them out on a plate. Pinch off a tablespoon-size piece of dough and roll between your palms to form a ball. Roll ball in pine nuts or just place it on the baking sheet if you want plain cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake the cookies until lightly browned and soft and springy, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks before serving. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. The plain cookies can be dusted with confectioners’ sugar before serving.