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 Almond and Pine Nut Balls (Empiñonados) 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 flavour of pine nuts shining through.
Almond and Pine Nut Balls (Empiñonados) Recipe
- 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 flavour of the pine nuts slightly)
For this Almond and Pine Nut Balls (Empiñonados) Recipe, 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 marvellous 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.