I have always loved pignoli and was looking for a way to get rid of some extra pecan halves that had been in my freezer for nearly a year. My parents send me a large bag from Texas every Christmas, and I never manage to use them all before the next bag arrives. The recipe I tried to adapt, though, did not seem to have enough internal strength to hoist a full pecan half, as the end result sagged and flattened rather than puffing into a chewy dome as happens when using pine nuts (which are much smaller and lighter). Next time, I think I will coarsely chop the pecans into pieces roughly the size of pine nuts and roll batter scoops in said pieces instead of applying a full half to each cookie.

This was my first time making pignoli, and I was not expecting dosing out the batter to be quite as difficult as it turned out to be. It would have been easier with a one tablespoon cookie scoop instead of using a tablespoon measure.

I was also surprised at the material cost per cookie. The main ingredient is almond paste, which sells for ~$6.50 for a seven ounce tube at my local grocery store. Each batch uses a full tube, which translates to a materials cost of $0.50 - $0.60 per (small) cookie. Between the expensive ingredients, the difficult-to-handle batter, and the deflating center, I do not think I would bake this recipe again without serious changes.

Rating: ★★★☆☆


  • 83 grams sugar (powdered)
  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 0.25 teaspoons salt
  • 20 pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Toast pecan halves until fragrant and just beginning to brown (about five minutes).
  3. Pulse powdered sugar and almond paste in food processor until combined.
  4. almond paste and powdered sugar, unmixed
  5. Add the salt, honey, and egg white, then pulse until mixture is even and smooth (about one minute).
  6. add egg, honey, and salt pulse until smooth
  7. Arrange one tablespoon scoops of batter on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. (You will not be able to move scoops once they are on the parchment paper, so place with care.)
  8. Place one pecan half on each batter scoop.
  9. Bake until cookies turn golden brown and firm around the edges (about 15-18 minutes).
  10. Let cookies cool on sheet pan until room temperature. Carefully peel cookies from parchment paper and transfer to an airtight container.