Monday, April 1, 2013

Ingredient 13 - Pistachios

Martha Stewart has redeemed herself in my book.  I lost a little faith last weekend while removing some overly roasted parsnips and brussels sprouts from my Sunday dinner.  When it comes to baked goods, Martha is in the know.  I made her pistachio shortbread sandwich cookies this weekend and they came out great.  Best of all, they were amazingly simple to prepare.  I was shocked at how easy they were to make.  Unfortunately, this new-found knowledge may lead to me ODing on shortbread.  Walnut shortbread dipped in chocolate, yes please.

FYI, pistachios are tree nuts that originated in Iran and Iraq but made their way to the Mediterranean in the first century A.D.  The pistachio tree thrives in dry climates with cool winters and hot summers.  Humidity is the enemy of the pistachio.  Iran, Turkey, Syria, and California are all top pistachio producers.

Pistachio Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
1/3 cup strawberry jam

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Begin by bringing the butter to room temperature.  I placed my butter on the counter before going out for pizza.  It was ready when I got home 90 minutes later.

Place softened butter, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fully combined, low speed.  Measure and place flour in a bowl. Add flour to butter in small batches, beating on low.  When fully combined, the butter and flour will form a crumbly dough.
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Roughly chop the pistachios and add them to the dough, mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Use your hands to press the dough into two logs.  Martha says to make two 8 inch logs, but one of my logs was closer to 12 inches.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Note: The logs can be frozen for up to a month.

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When you are ready to bake, remove logs from freezer and slice into 1/4 inch pieces.  If the logs are frozen solid, let them warm up on the counter for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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Place oven racks in top and lower third positions and pre-heat the oven to 350.  Place slices on a parchment paper- lined cookie sheets and bake for approximately 15 minutes, switching oven position of the sheets halfway through.  The cookies are done when the edges turn golden brown.

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When the cookies have completely cooled, spread jam on the bottom of a cookie and place bottom of a similarly-sized cookie on top.
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These cookies were fantastic.  The perfect cookie for a cup of tea.  They are good sans jam as well.  A great take-along to any brunch or ladylike event.  Overall grade: A.  


  1. Love shortbread and pistachios...can wait to try this. I wonder if you can use this recipe to make scones.

  2. These were moist and delicious. Yum!