Almond and Pine Nut Balls (Empiñonados)



After a trip to Barcelona during which I sampled these cookies at Caelum, a pastry shop that sells the sweet made in monasteries, I decided to make them myself. The recipe is simple and they’re quick to make. These little almond and pine nut balls keep well for about 2 weeks. It’s the perfect recipe for nut lovers, with the delicate flavor of pine nuts shining through.

Recipe for Almond and Pine Nut Balls
  • Scant 1/2 cup / 85 g sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup / 150 g finely ground almonds
  • ¼ cup / 55 g egg whites
  • 1 heaping cup / 150 g pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon bitter almond extract, optional (it masks the flavor of the pine nuts slightly)
 Place the sugar and ground almonds in a mixing bowl.


Combine them, then add the egg white and almond extract, if using.


Knead the egg white in with your hands until the dough forms a ball.


Divide the dough into small balls weighing about ½ oz. / 12 to 13 g each, about the size of a walnut.


Look at the marvelous pine nuts I brought back from Spain.


Take a handful of pine nuts and place a ball of dough over them.


Close your hand round to press the pine nuts into the dough.


Make a ball covered with lots of pine nuts that won’t escape during baking.


Repeat the procedure with all the balls of dough.


Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180° C using the convection setting. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.


Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pine nuts are golden. Depending on your oven, this may take a little less or more time, so keep a careful eye on them. Transfer to a cake rack to cool.



Store in an airtight container so that they don’t dry out.

1 comment:

Stacey D. Korman said...

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