I always wanted to be that mother, the one who bakes a variety of cookies every Christmas – and box them up and give them to family and friends. This meant, in my mind at least, that I needed to master Pignoli cookies since it’s one of the few sweets my husband likes. I have tried to make these cookies twice before, and let’s just say that the results were underwhelming. The first batch came out flat as a pancake, and yet my husband still complimented me on the “crispness” of them. (He is so sweet to me). The second time I tried them, I remember the bottoms being a lovely shade of brown-black and the tops remaining soft. They made it to the garbage can with a quick jerk of the arm and a few not so nice words muttered. So this year, I re-read the recipe and set it out again as a contender for the Christmas cookie baking marathon. The recipe I have, had a note to not purchase Marzipan nor the almond paste in a tube because it is too crumbly. Instead, it said to buy the almond paste in the can. I was delighted when I scoured the shelves at the store, to find “almond” in the can, so I quickly grabbed two cans and threw them into the cart.
Back at home, I started the recipe, and when it was time to mix in the almond paste, I opened the can. I soon realized that this goopy sugary mixture was not at all what I was supposed to be using. I had purchased almond filling. Good Lord, Erin. Why do I even bother???
I reached for the iPad and googled the difference between the two. The answer meant no Pignoli cookies again this year. But because I am stubborn, I looked for a way to use this stuff in a cookie. What I found online was apparently a type of Kolacky cookie recipe. I was pretty pleased with the results actually. I didn’t get to hand out boxes of cookies this year as my almond flub took the wind out of my baking sails….not that I had awesome baking skills, uh I mean sails, to begin with.
almond thumbprint cookies (adapted from the recipe on Cooks.com)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can Solo almond filling
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
get started on the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually add flour until just mixed together. The dough will be stiff. Roll dough into tablespoon size balls. Place on greased baking sheet. With your hand or a greased flat-bottomed glass, gently press ball to thickness of about a half an inch. Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill the center of the cookie with about a teaspoon of the almond filling. Bake for 15 minutes.
note: this recipe made about 30 cookies, and yes, they are photographed in a box, but the box stayed on my counter – not given out as the gifts I had set out to do.