My favorite cookie this holiday season was the Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies.
I will admit, I was not good about getting all my new cookies up for the Christmas holiday season. One thing I wanted to do was have some posts about ingredients. One of the ingredients was supposed to be pistachios. I made quite a few cookies with pistachios, each better than the next. I promise that my next post will be about the BEST cookies made with pistachios.
I always try and look for different cookies around the holidays and what I liked the most is that pistachios have such a great flavor and you don't normally find them in cookies. When you do, it's a delightful taste. Secondly, they are such a beautiful green color, perfect for the holiday season.
This recipe was given to me by my friend, Angela Carbonetti. She posted it on my Facebook account thinking I would enjoy the Pistachio Shortbread recipe from Chow.com. I was sending her a message at Thanksgiving and came across the recipe again. I love Angela and her family. Her mom, Angie, was an amazing baker. Angela and I were laughing about how her mother would turn her bedroom into a bakery. She would store all of her holiday cookies in the room and when people would stop by, she would go into the bedroom and magically appear with a box of cookies...and her cookies were the BEST. Two of my favorite cookies on the blog are from Angie (Angie's Ricotta Cookies and Angie's Almond Slices). GAWD, I miss her.
This recipe was very easy to make, after toasting the pistachios, the entire recipe is made in the food processor. The original recipe called for lemon zest, but I only had orange zest. If you decide to use lemon, the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
A few observations: 1. After pressing down the shortbread (step 6), they suggested you use a fork and score the dough. Mine kept getting stuck and pulling the dough apart, so I skipped that step. 2. Make sure you cut the shortbread when it is still warm, mine was cold and it was more difficult, it cracked into pieces more easily.
After it was baked and I got to sample the pieces, I realized how delicious these cookies were. They had a little bit of a sweet and salty taste. I loved the orange and pistachio combination. I would call them addictive. You taste a piece, then you want another, then another...especially if you have tea or coffee. As I finished off the holiday season, more and more people requested the recipe. I was excited because it became one of my favorite recipes of Christmas.
Bake a batch, share and enjoy!
Ingredients for the Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies:
3/4 cup of pistachio kernels - slightly salted (if unsalted, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of butter (one stick), cut into 8 tablespoons
1 tablespoon of finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons of sugar (to be used at the end of the recipe)
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Using an 8x8 baking pan, line the pan with aluminum foil with overhangs or fold a piece of parchment paper to fit into the pan leaving paper hanging over the edges. (Explanation - you have to create a way to lift the shortbread from the pan. It is too delicate to turn out onto a cutting board.) Make sure you generously grease the pan so to easily remove the foil or parchment.
2. In a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring regularly, toast the pistachios until they begin to smell fragrant and are slightly golden, 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Place 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of sugar into a food processor and process until the mixture looks like coarse sand, about 30 seconds.
4. Add the flour and pulsate to mix. Add the butter and orange zest. Pulsate until the dough begins to come together.
5. Add the last of the pistachios and pulsate 3-4 times allowing the pistachios to become chopped not ground. This will give the shortbread some texture.
6. Turn the mixture into the pan and shake the pan to evenly distribute and then press the dough with your hands or you can use the bottom of a glass.
7. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar.
8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the shortbread is slightly golden and firm to the touch.
9. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Grab the corners of the foil or parchment and remove the shortbread from the pan. Remove the foil or parchment from the shortbread and cut the shortbread while it is still warm. The colder it gets the more brittle it becomes to cut.
10. This will make 16 shortbread squares or you can cut each square in half, which I did. I find people love to take a nibble. They will eventually take more, but 1/2 is great to start.
Written by Tricia White