Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies

Day 5 of 12 Days of Gluten Free Cookies is upon us and I cannot even believe there are so many more delectable cookie recipes left to share, including this amazing pignoli cookie!! If you have been around for the first few recipes of this series then you know exactly what I am about to say, but just in case you are new to the 12 Days madness here are a few things you should know…

  1. All of the recipes in this series are gluten free and vegetarian, some are vegan, and some are dairy free too. If you have a dietary restriction some of the recipes may just be a simple substitution away from fitting into your diet. So, please check the recipes before deciding that a cookie is not for you and if you have questions leave me a comment. I am here for you!!
  2. I used King Arthur Flour – gluten free multi-purpose flour for all of the cookies in this series. Why? First, I am not affiliated with King Arthur Flour in any way,  I simply wanted to make sure that all of the ingredients I used for these cookies were easy to find. Second, I know that custom blending flours can be intimidating so for now we are going to stick with something easy. The holiday’s are stressful enough without making cookies complicated.

Today’s cookie of the day are these scrumptious Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies, AKA: pine nut cookies! I just love the look of pine nut studded cookies don’t you? They really add something special to a cookie platter -sort of like the accessories you are planning to pair with that perfect holiday party outfit you have been planning.

Pignoli Cookies are an extremely popular cookie in southern Italy around the holidays and I imagine if they popped up more around the states they would be a huge hit here too. These pine nut studded beauties are made with almond paste and confectioner’s sugar which makes the flavor of these cookies rich and decadent. As far as texture goes these cookies have a slightly crisp exterior that gives way to a perfectly chewy center all while being gluten and dairy free.

Here are a few pignoli cookie baking tips for you:

1. Use a lighter colored sheet pan to bake these cookies or if you only have darker ones make sure you really watch the cookies as they bake. When testing these cookies I found that a darker pan will cause the bottoms of the cookies to sometimes brown too fast.

2. If you cook these too long they will bake up quite hard, almost like the texture of a biscotti. They will still taste really good, but you will definitely need to dunk them in your choice of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea.

If you’ve tried this Gluten Free Pignoli Cookie Recipe, I would be so grateful if you would rate it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I just love hearing from you and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours!


Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies

Don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think about these Gluten Free Pignoli Cookies in the comments below. I just love hearing from you. Your reviews/comments really help other people that visit This Mess is Ours!

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Yield: approx. 2 dozen


  • 2 cups lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor combine 3/4 cup pine nuts, the confectioners’ sugar, almond paste, and vanilla extract. Then process until fine crumbs form. Add the egg and pulse until incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt; process the ingredients until the dough comes together.
  3. Roll the dough into balls about 3/4 – inch big then roll the balls of dough in the remaining pine nuts. Gently press the pine nuts into the dough and place on the prepared baking sheets with 2 inches of space between each cookie.
  4. Bake the cookies approximately 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the cook time. The cookies should be golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.


Adapted from Martha Stewart

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What are the health benefits of pine nuts?

Pine nuts are a high protein seed packed with several essential nutrients including iron, magnesium, and unsaturated healthy fats. This helps your body to increase energy levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The high amount of antioxidants in pine nuts improves skin health and aids the body in fighting illness and disease.

Click here for more information on the health benefits of pine nuts.


  1. march January 25, 2019 at 9:16 am

    These turned out beautifully!!! I live at high altitude and followed the directions EXACTLY and they were amazing! I used my cookie dough scoop to drop them into the pignolis and then picked them up on the nut side before flipping them onto the parchment paper. They only made 18 cookies doing them this way but they were good sized. They came off the paper with no issues and tasted just like I remember from childhood. THANK YOU!!

    1. thismess January 27, 2019 at 2:18 am

      I am so glad you love them and that they were as good as the ones you remember form your childhood! Your comment totally made my day!

  2. Lynell December 13, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Just last week I saw an OLD Julia Child’s episode were she and a guest baked these cookies! I’ll definitely be trying them. On a side, I’ve found that it’s much cheaper to buy pine nuts from the bulk bin. Just measure what you need in the store. (Is it weird to carry measuring cups in your purse?)

    1. Meg December 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

      That is amazing Lynell! I love Julia Child so much – now I love her even more knowing she shared pignoli cookies with the world. 🙂


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