The Washington Post

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies 16.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Nourish Feb 2, 2023

These easy-to-make treats from Brian Levy’s cookbook “Good & Sweet” are chewy and delicately sweet, with a crunchy, buttery coating of toasted pine nuts. They are healthful, too, made with almond flour and sweetened with a combination of dates, apricots and raisins — no added sugar. While Levy calls them cookies, thanks to their subtle, fruity sweetness, they taste more like an extra-special “energy bite.” Whatever you call them, they’re a smile-inducing treat to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea or espresso.

Active time: 30 mins; Total time: 2 hours 30 mins

Correction: An earlier version of this recipe used an incorrect weight for the almond flour. This version has been corrected.

Make Ahead: The cookie paste can be prepared and refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours for easier rolling of the cookies.

Storage Notes: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

16 - 20

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16-20 servings; makes 32 to 40 cookies

  • 1 cup (104 grams) almond flour
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) pitted and halved Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) halved unsulfured dried Turkish apricots
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) golden raisins, preferably Hunza
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (215 grams) raw, unsalted pine nuts


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, dates, apricots and raisins and pulse until the fruit is broken down and the mixture resembles moist breadcrumbs. Add the egg white and almond extract and process until the mixture turns into a very smooth, homogeneous and sticky paste, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the paste to a bowl. You can proceed immediately to the next step or, for easier shaping with a less sticky paste, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Place the pine nuts in a small bowl. Set a bowl filled with cold water near your workspace. Dip your fingers in the water before shaping the cookies; it will help prevent the paste from sticking to your hands. Using a 1-teaspoon measure, shape the mixture into small balls (8 to 9 grams each), then roll each ball in the pine nuts, pressing each ball firmly into the nuts to ensure they adhere to every bit of the paste. (If there is any paste surface bigger than a pine nut left bare, plug it with a pine nut.) Repeat with the remaining paste and pine nuts.

Set the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and press on them with your finger to flatten slightly (you should be able to fit all the cookies on a single sheet) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes (start checking at the 20-minute mark), or until the pine nuts are starting to turn slightly golden brown. Turn the oven off, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon, and let the cookies dry out in the oven for 1 1/2 hours before taking them out to cool completely. Serve right away or transfer to an airtight container and store until needed.

Recipe Source

Adapted by cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger from “Good & Sweet,” by Brian Levy (Avery, 2022).

Tested by Anna Rodriguez.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 cookies), based on 20: 137

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 10g 15%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 18mg 1%

Total Carbohydrates: 11g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle