I’ve never been a big dessert person. I just don’t have a sweet tooth. My favorite desserts are always those that have savory qualities like woodsy herbs or toasted nuts. These vegan pignoli (pine nut cookies) with rosemary have both! They are:
- Toasty and nutty
- Subtly herbaceous
- Melt-in-your-mouth buttery
- Not too sweet
- Great for holiday entertaining
This recipe is two-part: First, make your almond paste. Then, proceed with the cookie recipe!
Almond paste: This is a mixture of almond flour, powdered sugar, aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and almond extract.
Vegan butter: I always recommend Miyoko’s for the best results. Make sure it’s softened to room temperature so that the cookie dough mixes evenly.
Pure cane sugar: Did you know that most commercial granulated sugar uses animal bone char in the manufacturing process? Make sure to look for organic pure cane sugar whenever possible to avoid this.
Almond extract: This adds such a delicious almondy, nutty flavor to the cookies, setting them apart from your traditional vanilla-based sweets.
Baking powder: This gives the cookies their rise. No flat cookies here!
Unbleached, all-purpose flour: You can also use your favorite gluten free flour blend.
Pine nuts: The star of the show! Press them into your cookie dough balls before baking and they get nice and toasty in the oven.
Fresh rosemary: Because rosemary and pine nuts are such a match made in heaven. The rosemary makes these festive for fall and winter and adds a delicious, herbaceous depth.
How to Make Vegan Pignoli Cookies
First, make the almond paste. Blitz up all the ingredients in a food processor until a solid lump of paste starts to form. If it’s not coming together, add another tablespoon of aquafaba as needed. Roll the paste into a log in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.
Now, start the cookie dough. In a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, almond paste, sugar, and almond extract.
Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Use a rubber spatula to combine until a dough forms, being careful not to over-mix.
Roll the dough into small balls, and then roll each ball in the pine nuts, pressing the pine nuts into the dough so they don’t fall out. Then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten ever-so-slightly. Sprinkle on the minced rosemary, using as much or as little as you like.
Bake at 325 F for about 20 minutes, or until just barely starting to turn golden around the edges. Cool completely before serving.
These cookies make a great afternoon snack with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They’re also a crowd pleaser at holiday potlucks or cookie swaps! I recommend making a double batch.
Want more dessert inspiration? Check out these recipes next:
Vegan Pignoli Cookies
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp aquafaba plus more, as needed
- 1 tsp almond extract
Pine Nut Cookies
- 1 cup almond paste (above)
- 8 tbsp vegan butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- First, make the almond paste. Combine all four ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a thick paste forms together in a lump. If it's not coming together, add another tablespoon of aquafaba if needed.
- Dump the paste onto some plastic wrap and form into a log. Place in the refrigerator for one hour (or up to 24 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- For the cookies, cream together the almond paste, softened vegan butter, pure cane sugar, and almond extract in a stand mixer until well combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
- Use your hands to form small balls, and roll each ball into the pine nuts.
- Transfer the balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, flattening slightly and pushing in the pine nuts so they stick. Sprinkle with the minced fresh rosemary.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden (you don't want the cookies to brown).
- Cool completely before serving.