The 1990s saw a rising interest in Italian regional cuisine. These macaroons come to us by way of Sicily and are a staple of good Italian cookie bakeries all over the Northeast.
This recipe was first published in a special Yankee holiday baking supplement from the 1990s, and we love how richly they taste of almonds and buttery pine nuts. You just need a little bit of patience to let the cookies sit for 30 minutes before baking—that gives them the coveted crisp exterior and chewy interior.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Break the almond paste into pieces in a large bowl. Add the sugar, and beat with a standing or handheld mixer until very crumbly, about 1 minute. In another bowl, beat the egg whites by hand with the salt until foamy all the way through, but not yet holding peaks.
With the mixer running, pour the egg foam into the almond mixture a little at a time so that it forms a dough. Add the almond extract, and then stir to combine.
Scoop the dough out by the tablespoon and drop onto the prepared cookie sheets, 3 to a row on a standard-size sheet. Sprinkle all over with pine nuts. (For extra flavor, you can also roll the dough in the nuts.)
Let the cookies sit out at room temperature 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325° and set racks to the middle positions, with space between. Then bake until nicely browned, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Let cool completely on the baking sheets; then carefully peel the parchment off the bottoms. (If you try to remove them while they’re still hot, they’ll stick.)