Back from a recent dinner at Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach, we were stuffed with blessed satisfaction from too many great dishes on the menu. To top off the amazing salume, antipasto, salads and pizza we enjoyed, was their signature Butterscotch Budino, served with delectable tiny cookies on the side, a salty accompaniment to the sweet custard. As full as we were, the cookies caught our attention! The cookies sported a base of sweet-salty polenta shortbread, topped with a pine nut nougat studded with vanilla beans, and perfumed with needles of fresh rosemary.
We felt these cookies would stand well alone, and offer something to the guest who doesn’t want something too sweet for dessert. Visually appetizing and wonderful as the finale to an Italian meal… we were so happy to find the recipe in their Pizzeria Mozza Cookbook. We made the recipe at home, and shared our experience with you in the below gallery. Give them a try, and let us know what you think! Buon Appetito!
(Scroll down for full recipe!)
Rosemary Pine-Nut Cookies – Pizzeria Mozza Recipe
Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: Makes about 5 dozen cookies
1 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted
2 branches of rosemary, plus 2 branches for garnish
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups pastry or all purpose flour
1/2 cup polenta
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast the pine nuts by placing them on a cookie sheet and baking them, stirring occasionally until the nuts are fragrant and just beginning to turn golden, about 9 minutes.
2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the cream, honey, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons butter and cook over high heat, stirring only once to ensure even cooking, until the mixture reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Take off the heat and whisk in the 3 tablespoons flour.
3. Turn the nougatine mixture into a bowl and fold in the pine nuts and two whole rosemary stalks. Allow to infuse and cool for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary stalks. This mixture can be made in advance, stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring it to room temperature before rolling out the cookies.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the remaining 2 sticks butter and the powdered sugar until it is creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined. Add the flour and polenta and mix until well-combined. The dough will be soft. Divide the dough in half and shape into disks. Wrap the disks separately and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the cookie dough to one-eighth-inch thick, using enough flour as needed. Cut out circles of dough using a 1 1/4-inch round cutter. Place the circles of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scraps of leftover dough can be re-rolled after returning the dough to the refrigerator to chill slightly.
6. Work the room-temperature nougatine between your fingers, creating a thin disk about the size of a dime. Place the circle of nougatine on a circle of dough and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs, about three leaves for each cookie.
7. Once all of the cookies are finished and garnished, bake them about 15 minutes until they are golden brown and the nougatine has changed color to a light hazelnut brown, rotating the pan once during baking. Cool on a wire rack.
Each cookie: 80 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 11 mg. cholesterol; 22 mg. sodium.