Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Big flavor, no flour—great for gluten-free eating, Easter, Passover or just… because you like good food!
One of the nicest new arrivals from the Bakehouse are these great little, bite-sized, Italianate pine nut cookies. “Nina’s ’nolis” are named for our longtime Bakehouse staffer, and recipe tester extraordinaire, Nina Plasencia. They’re made with ground almonds and hazelnuts, some splendid butter, a touch of honey, and garnished lovingly with toasted pine nuts. It just so happens they are naturally gluten free, and because they have no flour, are a nice option for Passover. In Italy, pignoli are a long standing staple for holiday tables, so keep them in mind for Easter baskets, or after dinner sweets for Easter Sunday. On a secular and more mundane note, they make a great accompaniment for your morning espresso.
Amy Emberling, longtime managing partner at the Bakehouse, says, “We’ve made them off and on over the years and for a variety of reasons I think they’re going to take off this time. They get positive reviews from practically everyone. Delicious! Traditional! Can’t beat a combo like that.” I wholeheartedly agree. Blogger Food Blogga writes:
Biscotti may be the stars of Italian cookies but pignoli are the talented understudies just waiting to be discovered. Pignoli cookies are mildly sweet yet have a full-bodied nutty flavor from almond paste that lingers pleasantly on your palate. The crispy exterior reveals a chewy interior that gently pulls away as you bite it. Once you taste a pignoli cookie, you may just think it’s a star.
The book Pasta for Nightingales tells tales of 17th century Italians feeding pasta made with pine nuts and saffron to the birds to encourage them to sing. It’s a beautiful book and the story is superb. Thinking about it here reminded me to use these cookies to make a delicious dessert pasta. Getting some of the great Italian egg pasta we have at the Deli, tossed with olive oil and black pepper—our Balinese long pepper would be even better—and then crumbling on a bunch of these pine nut cookies. Wonderful!