Pignoli (Pine Nut Cookies) with Fennel Pollen
Pignoli (Pine nut cookies) are often thought of as Christmas cookies, but their delicate flavor and crisp texture make them a natural accompaniment to light, summery desserts like fresh fruit, ice cream & sorbet. This recipe varies from the traditional version is several ways, most notably by the use of fennel pollen, instead of ground fennel seed. While fennel pollen has the same distinctive anise-like flavor as fennel seed, it's much lighter, more delicate and less cloying.
These cookies only take 15 - 18 minutes to bake up crisp & golden brown, so they won't heat up the kitchen on warm days - and their intoxicating aroma is guaranteed to drive everyone in the house (if not the entire neighborhood) wild!
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, fennel pollen, and salt in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour and mix just until blended.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into an 8-inch-long log. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line heavy large baking sheets with a silpat or parchment paper. Cut the dough log crosswise into 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick slices. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly apart. Press the pine nuts decoratively atop the cookies. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 15-18 minutes. Makes 3 - 4 dozen, depending on size.