A Recipe: Pignoli

Yup. Another almond flavored treat. I'm telling you, they are the best. What's even better is these cookies are gluten-free! Hooray! Nonna made a MASSIVE batch of these cookies (as well as the Venetians) as the gifts for my wedding. Every place setting had a little box with her cookies. Everyone went home with a piece of Nonna and some of our families favorite treats. 

These cookies are much easier to make than Venetians and don't take as long. However, the results can vary based on the brand of ground almonds that you use. I recommend using a superfine almond flour. The finer grind of the almonds helps replicate regular flour and keeps the cookies fluffy. 


  • 16 oz ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 tbs almond extract
  • 8 oz pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix together almond meal and sugar. Beat together egg whites and almond extract until soft peaks forms. 

Gradually fold egg whites into the ground almond mix. Cover a pan with parchment paper. 
By the tsp full, drop cookies into the pan. Top with pine nuts. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. 

A Recipe: Venetians

These cookies remind me of my childhood. Nonna used to make these cookies for special occasions and would make a batch big enough to freeze a bag or two. Now, I understand why because they are not your average batch of cookies. These cookies aren't difficult to make, there are just a lot of steps, and they require overnight refrigeration. And as I mentioned, they freeze well if you want to make ahead of time and thaw and honestly taste SO good frozen too. 

There is something about the flavor of almond extract and almond paste that takes me right back to my Nonna's kitchen. If there is something on the menu with either of these flavors you can order it for me because I will devour it. And someday, I will figure out how to make the cookies gluten-free so they don't give me a stomach ache. 

This time around, I was making the cookies for a friend's baby shower. Typically, the colors of this cookie are red, white, green (the Tricolore, colors of the Italian flag), but I opted for just pink and white because those were the colors of the shower. Also, making these cookies this time around were a nightmare. when I flipped the layers to cool, they collapsed and folded in half and because I was pressed for time (and ingredients) I was determined to salvage what I could and make it work. It just goes to show ya that every Instaphoto recipe isn't always coming out perfectly behind the scenes ;) 


  • 14 oz almond paste
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs separated
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pink food coloring
  • 12 oz apricot preserves
  • Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 13x9x2 inch pans; line with wax paper and grease again. (Or if you're like me with only one, you'll just work with one color at a time.)

Break up almond paste in a large bowl with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Beat in flour and salt. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into almond mixture.

Remove 1 1/2 cups batter; spread evenly into a prepared pan. Remove another 1 1/2 cups and add the green food coloring; spread evenly into second prepared pan. Add red food coloring to remaining 1 1/2 cups batter and spread into the last prepared pan. Bake each sheet for 15 minutes, or just until edges are golden brown. Remove cakes from pans immediately. Place green layer on jelly-roll pan bottom side down.

Heat apricot preserves and strain. Spread 1/2 of the warm preserves over green layer to edges; slide yellow layer on top; spread with remaining apricot preserves; slide pink layer, right side up onto yellow layer.

Cover with plastic wrap; weigh down with a heavy plate. Place in refrigerator overnight.

Next day: Melt chocolate and spread on the top layer to edges of cakes; let dry 30 minutes.

Trim edges of the cake. Cut into small rectangular pieces. ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY!