December 19, 2007

Nuts for Pistachios

My favorite thing about pistachios (besides being tasty) is their visual appeal. I hand-shelled this bowl as I prepared to make some pistachio shortbread. It caught my eye because the color of the nuts just popped against the white of the bowl and the counter, the chartreuse green complemented by strokes of light-purple contrast. Offering a delicate and subtle flavor, pistachios are one of those rare foods that are appropriate for sweet and savory dishes alike.

Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread

Adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe.

1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup baker's sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate morsels

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind pistachios by pressing the pulse button a handful of times until you have very small pieces. It's important to not overdo it as you will end up with a powder. Add half the pistachios to baker's sugar and and half to the flour.

  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed (using the paddle attachment) until fluffy. Add vanilla and salt, and beat for 1 minute. Add yolks one at a time, and beat until evenly combined. Add flour and pistachio mixture, and mix until just combined. Remove dough, form into a rectangle; wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Brush dough with the egg white to moisten. Cover evenly with pistachio-sugar mixture. Lightly press mixture into dough with the rolling pin. Using a small circular cookie cutter, cut cookies as close as possible to avoid waste. Place on prepared baking sheets.

  4. Bake until edges are just lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

  5. When cooled, melt chocolate chips and dip one half of each cookie.

The original recipe indicated cooking time should be 18 minutes. This is what I ended up with after cooking for that long—burnt little discs that masked the nutty pistachio taste and simply weren't good. I reduced cooking time to 12 minutes and had much better results. Since oven temps can vary, cooking time should be adjusted accordingly.


Elly said...

Mmm. Butter, pistachios and chocolate. Can't go wrong in my book. These look great.

Deborah said...

I love pistachios! These cookies look wonderful!

Dhanggit said...

OMG i love everything you put into this cookies; pistachios and chocos!!! all i need is just a cup of tea and my day is complete!!