Similar to Italian pignoli cookies, these chewy treats have a bright and refreshing flavor from the lemon zest and a crunch from the crushed pistachios. They are great for shipping long distances because they are sturdy and keep for more than 2 weeks, actually improving in flavor over that time. The secret is the almond paste, which helps the cookies stay moist and flavorful.
Reprinted from the book The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan. Copyright © 2013 and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.
|2 large egg whites, at room temperature||1/2 teaspoon salt|
|1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar||2/3 cup crushed pistachios|
|2 tablespoons honey||2 cans (8 ounce) almond paste, broken into pieces|
|2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest|
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the almond paste on low speed to soften. Add the egg whites and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add the sugar, honey, lemon zest, and salt, and mix on low speed.
Scatter the pistachios on a plate. Using your hands or a cookie dough scoop, form 1-inch balls with the dough. Coat one side of each dough ball with the nuts and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets with the nuts facing up, about 1 inch apart. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Pack the cookies in a round airtight container, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper. Alternatively, stack the cookies in cellophane bags. Tie the tops of the bags together with string or ribbon.
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