Both beautiful and delicious, these buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are a must-make. Easily made in the food processor, this brightly-hued shortbread cookie is destined become a new family-favorite recipe.
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It turns out that after developing my "Ted Lasso Biscuit" recipe, I discovered a love for shortbread. I had no idea a simple mixture of butter, sugar, and flour could result in such a transcendent treat, but it's true. I immediately put multiple versions on my recipe content calendar, and this Pistachio Shortbread Cookie recipe is the first to be born! This should come as no surprise, though, because I absolutely love pistachio (see here: Pistachio Mascarpone Pie and Pistachio Pudding).
When done right, shortbread cookies should have a perfect balance of both buttery and crumbly texture. They should be sweet and, in my opinion, slightly salty. These pistachio shortbread cookies up the ante with a subtly earthy flavor enhanced by a touch of almond extract for an extra nutty kick. Simply put, these shortbread cookies are perfect for any occasion.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The article below is jam-packed full of useful information. You can jump around using the menu below, or skip to the end of the article for the full recipe.
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. I don't usually say this, but because there are so few ingredients, it's best not to make any substitutions in this recipe.
- raw pistachios (avoid roasted or salted pistachios because they will dull the color, change the flavor, and upset the balance of salt)
- salted Kerrygold butter (If you can't find this brand, use another high-fat salted European style butter like Plugra, Cabot Extra Creamy, or Vital Farms)
- vanilla extract and almond extract (the almond extract is essential for the flavor as it is almost always paired with pistachio-flavored food)
- coarse kosher salt (this recipe was tested with Diamond Crystal kosher salt; if you use Morton's or fine table salt, the salt amount should be decreased by roughly half, or the same amount in grams)
- all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar
Making the Dough
This is a quick visual overview of the steps needed to make this recipe. This is not the actual recipe, which is located at the end of this article and has much greater detail to ensure success.
Step 1: Finely chop the nuts in a food processor; set aside half of them for later.
Step 2: Add in the wet ingredients and process until combined.
Step 3: Pulse in the flour.
Step 4: Transfer the dough to a large piece of parchment.
Step 5: Using a bench scraper and the parchment, push the dough to force it into a neat log.
Step 6: Twist the ends of the parchment to enclose the dough, wrap in plastic and chill.
The shortbread cookie dough should be chilled in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. This makes it possible to slice the cookies neatly.
Perfecting the Slice and Bake Technique
Before the cookies are baked, the cookie dough is coated in the reserved chopped pistachios. This adds a pleasant crunch and a beautiful look to the finished cookie.
Step 5: To make it easier to handle, cut the dough in half.
Step 6: Coat the solid cookie dough log in the pistachios.
Once each half of the cookie dough log is coated, slice into ½-inch-thick circles. Place them on a baking sheet evenly spaced apart. They don't spread a lot, but it's best to give them plenty of circulation room, so using two baking trays is best.
Shortbread cookies are traditionally baked in a low-temperature oven. The lower oven temperature allows the cookies to set gently without browning too quickly, preserving their tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Since they are baked at a low temperature, it can be tricky to tell when shortbread cookies are finished baking. Look for a subtle change of color in the cookies (they'll go from bright green to a paler shade), and they will have an even, matte appearance.
If you are unsure if they are done, you can gently look underneath one of the cookies. It should have a very light, even golden color.
Once they are done, let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. These are not the type of cookies that you want to eat warm from the oven, as they will be too delicate to handle.
Serving + Storage
Shortbread should be cooled completely before serving. They are good on day 1, but they tend to get better with age and taste fantastic on days 2 and 3, too. These are great make-ahead cookies.
They will keep well for at least 3-5 days in a covered container at room temperature.
I haven't tried, but I bet they would freeze well, too.
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