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Almond paste cookies with pine nuts and the Rivoire in Florence

I’ve been living part-time in Florence for a few months now. I usually walk in touristic streets and less known back alleys with amazed eyes and my nose up in the air, searching for interesting spots. I’ve noticed several new places which are clearly inspired by a fresh style, with a beautiful white light and a young and international spirit. They have a wide offer, including smoothies, home-made chocolate, quality teas and coffees and tempting brioches with a spicy hint which brings you far away from Florence.

almond paste cookies with pine nuts

I’m instinctively attracted by similar places as I love to be welcomed by a cozy and warm atmosphere. It’s just like traveling somewhere else in the time of a coffee.

Then there are old historic places, the ones you refer to with some reverence, as they have always been there: they served tea and coffee to ladies with precious veil hat and distinguished gentlemen with walking stick. They have witnessed time change and girls shift from smiling shyly behind a cup of tea to taking a snapshot of each cup of chocolate, to share them immediately with their friends.


Rivoire  Rivoire

Right from my first times in Florence as a young girl, having a hot chocolate at Rivoire in Piazza della Signoria has been a special moment. Serious business meetings and first dates have been celebrated at the and tables of this historic café just as whispered chats with friends, accompanied by some almond paste cookies.

The Rivoire has a long and charming history. Enrico Rivoire, who was also mâitre chocolatier for the Savoy royal family, opened his café in Piazza della Signoria in 1872, when Florence was capital of Italy. He offered to his Florentine customers high quality artisan chocolate, produced according to an ancient recipe. The café quickly won the hearts of the Florentines and soon artists, politicians, noblemen and prominent personalities began to meet at the Rivoire, a lounge in the centre of Florence.


Rivoire  Rivoire

Today the Rivoire café is famous for its hot chocolate with whipped cream, which is never too sweet, an intense pleasure elegantly served in china cups, customized with a touch of gold and the lily of Florence. How not to feel immediately a classy lady? Also their pastries are an institution: it is easy to lose yourself in contemplation of their neatly arranged counters overflowing with almond pastries, croissants, fruit tartlets, classic cakes, desserts, pudding and chocolates.

And if you feel like having a drink, Rivoire makes also great cocktails, which you can enjoy sitting at the tables in the square, looking at Palazzo della Signoria, the Neptune Fountain, the Loggia dei Lanzi and the comings and goings of Florentine locals and tourists.

Piazza della Signoria, corner of Via Vacchereccia, 4R – Firenze –

almond paste cookies with pine nuts  almond paste cookies with pine nuts
almond paste cookies with pine nuts

Almond paste cookies with pine nuts

Inspired by the hot chocolate I had at Rivoire with my friend Francesca and by the pastries we chose, this Christmas I made several batches of almond paste cookies with pine nuts. You usually find these small almond paste cookies in many Italian bakeries and pastry shops.

I have always loved their nice, round and golden shape, generously covered by pine nuts, a cherished childhood memory. In a child’s powerful imagination they reminded me of little hedgehogs, especially when they were carefully placed in colourful paper cups.

Many friends and family members were gifted a batch of these cookies for Christmas, as almost everyone loves almond paste!

Almond paste cookies with pine nuts

5 from 4 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Cookies, Gluten free
Cuisine Italian
Servings 16 pastries


  • 160 g 5,6 oz / 1 cup + 1 ½ tablespoons of blanched almonds
  • 160 g of, 6,6 oz / 1 1/3 cups unsifted powdered sugar
  • 1 whole egg, egg white and yolk separated
  • 1 teaspoon of runny honey
  • 100 g 3,53 / ¾ cup of pine nuts
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  • Blend the almonds until you get a fine flour.
  • Mix the almond flour with powdered sugar, honey and egg white and knead on a marble or wooden surface until you get a thick and homogeneous dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for a few hours or until the next day.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and heat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5, 375°F).
  • With the help of a spoon and wet hands, form small balls of almond paste, big as a walnut.
  • Dip them in a beaten egg yolk, then cover them with pine nuts, pressing well with your hands to make them stick to the surface.
  • Put the almond pastries in small paper cups and lay them on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the pastries for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden.
  • When you remove them from the oven they will still be soft: if they have lost their shape carefully hold them in your hands and press them gently to give them back their nice round shape, then let them cool completely.
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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! Rivoire is one of our favorite places in Florence. It’s very near our apartment and we love to sit under its canopy and enjoy a hot chocolate or a drink with snacks. It’s a great place to watch the world walk by in the Piazza della Signoria.

    1. Lucky guy to live near the Rivoire! It would be dangerous for me, all that chocolate so at hand! 😉

  2. I’ll meet you therefor some hot chocolate and pastries in September Giulia, booked my ticket today! X

  3. Love the photos! and the last one is so romantic! Old historic places retain a warmth, charm and atmosphere of romance that any modern. contemporary place can simply not capture, no matter how fashionable they may be! 🙂 Next time I come to Italy, I have to spend more time in Florence!

  4. 5 stars
    Do Italians drink hot chocolate only in the winter? Would I be able to order one in May or June without eyebrows raised? This is an interesting recipe for the pine nut cookies. I usually make mine with almond paste, so the texture is chewy. Have never done the egg wash for sticking the pine nuts on either. Always ready to try a variation. 🙂 Definitely want to stop by Rivoire next time I can talk my husband into going to Firenze. He hates the crowds!! We need to visit in February!! 🙂

    1. Ciao Bonnie. We usually drink hot chocolate when it is cold, but at Rivoire hot chocolate is so good that you can have it whenever you want, even in the hottest days. If you visit in low season Florence is more yours, it will be a true gift!

    2. 5 stars
      The first four ingredients are a recipe for almond paste! There are a few commercial almond pastes
      that are wonderful and if used the recipe would be quick and easy!! Enjoy!!

  5. What a beautiful place; steeped in charm and tradition. I adore old cafes, along with those sweet classic cookies 🙂

  6. This is my kind of flavors and cookie! I just may have everything to whip these delicious cookies up! 🙂 Happy New Year to you!!

  7. Thanks for the jog to my memory of this wonderful establishment. In 1999, I was introduced to Italy’s famous Chocolata at this very same place. Every time I’ve been in Florence since, I make sure a visit is on the top of my agenda. When not there, I dream of the velvety goodness… and weep. Perhaps you could post the recipe sometime?

  8. I was in Florence one month ago and I was sitting at the Rivoire terraza taking some coffe, was incredible nice to be there, in general Florence is wonderful……seeing now your photos have refreshed my memories!
    For sure I will try to do this receipt, we have the same cookies in Spain ! Thanks for sharing the receipt with us!

    1. Ciao Lidia, thank you for the sweet feedback! how do you call these cookies in Spain?

  9. 5 stars
    Happy New Year!! Giulia.
    In Spain we call them : ‘ Almendrados de mazapán ‘ if done with almonds or ‘ Empiñonadas’ if done with pine nuts.

  10. Hi, Juls!

    When I made these, they got very flat and runny in the oven. I’m wondering if using pre-ground fine almond flour and maybe an extra egg white would help them hold their structure better. (I also live at high altitude in Colorado, about 1,575 mt. above sea level, and sometimes we need to adjust baking.) Any ideas would be welcome. That said, they taste even better than those I had in Florence! : )

    1. It can happen! I would increase the amount of almond flour rather than the egg whites, as they make it runnier. Baking them into small paper tins, tiny, like those for muffins, can help, too!

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