Channeling my Inner Housewife with Pignolis

Sunday nights are full of drama at my house: family feuds, table flipping, hair pulling, name calling, and rivers of tears. And I love it. Thankfully, the theatrics are confined to my television screen courtesy Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey. At the center of this drama-filled storm is Teresa Giudice – mom, personality, and thrice published cookbook author (yes, THREE cookbooks). And oh, these cookbooks…

If you were expecting some trashy, run-of-the-mill, tired celebrity cookbooks you would be only half right. They are also filled with some mild Housewife bashing (i.e. Teresa can cook better than the other NJ Housewives), and colorful storied family traditions. Aw, Milania!

Best of all Fabulicious!: Fast and Fit is filled with pages and pages of Teresa in her kitchen (her wedding stone is featured prominently) along with some truly delicious sounding recipes.

Pignoli cookies, or pine nut cookies, are Teresa’s favorite. Her version is simple to make, full of almond flavor (you really have to like almond to enjoy this cookie), and quite tasty.

A few notes: at first bite, the cookies are awash in almond flavor (think old-school Italian cookie), but it is balanced out by the texture and taste of the pine nuts. Also, I suggest freezing the batter a few minutes before coating the cookie in the nuts (my dough was a little sticky).

And yes, I discreetly purchased her other two books after cooking/baking from Fabulicious!: Fast and Fit – I had too – I am smitten.

Pignoli Cookie RECIPE ADAPTED from Fabulicious Fit & Skinny


2- 7 ounce – tubes almond paste
1 1/3 cup confectioner sugar
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup – about 3 ounce- pine nuts


Position a rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment and non stick baking pans.
Crumble the almond paste into a large, deep bowl. Sprinkle about half of the confectioner sugar over the almond paste.
Beat with an electic mixer on medium speed , gradually adding the remaining sugar until mixture is broken into fine crumbs.
Add the egg white and vanilla and beat until smooth and mixture forms a sticky dough. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Using a heaping teaspoon for each cookie, roll into 36 balls each about 1- inch wide.
Put the pine nuts in a small bowl and roll each ball in the pine nuts to coat.
Arrange cookie dough balls onto cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Using the heel of your hand, slightly press each ball to spread into a round – about 2 inches in diameter.
Bake the cookies , one sheet at a time ( leave the 2nd pan at room temp. while baking 1st batch), until cookies are golden brown (15-18min).
Let cookies cool on cooling rack. Eat immediately and often. Pignoli’s can be stored in airtight container for up to one week.