Pistachio shortbread cookies are a rich and buttery melt-in-your-mouth treat. An easy to make slice-and-bake cookie.
Growing up in the South with California raised parents, we cooked with walnuts, almonds, and pecans, but never pistachios and I certainly never had a pistachio shortbread. I did a little research and discovered that pistachio trees prefer a desert climate and do not do well in humidity. Well, there’s my answer, humidity is ever present in the South.
While I love walnuts, almonds and pecans in almost everything, after discovering the rich flavor of pistachios I’ve been incorporating them into my recipes. They’re great chopped into cranberry shortbread cookies, or sprinkled on top of acorn squash or combined with lemon in lemon bars. However in these shortbread cookies, the pistachios are ground to a cornmeal consistency so the pistachio flavor is in every bite.
Through our travels in Italy, my husband discovered the refreshing taste of pistachio gelato, it’s his favorite. He loved the idea of a pistachio shortbread and even offered to shell the pistachios. He decided it was worth the effort, but I’ve since been ordering them because it’s hard to find unsalted shelled pistachios at the grocery. You can find them unsalted at Trader Joe’s.
Why you should make a shortbread cookie
- You can prepare the easy shortbread cookie dough in 5 minutes
- Since it’s a slice and bake cookie, you can keep a roll of the dough ready in the freezer
- They’re not too sweet, so perfect for an afternoon snack
- The rich buttery flavor is amazing
What you’ll need
- Pistachios – shelled, dry roasted and UNSALTED. Unsalted can be hard to find but they carry them at Trader Joe’s, Whole foods and of course on Amazon. It takes a cup so you could shell them yourself if you’re ambitious.
- Butter – unsalted and cold.
- Pantry ingredients – flour, sugar, salt and vanilla
How do you make pistachio shortbread cookies
Step 1: Grind the pistachios in a food processor until fine.
Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it looks like cornmeal. With the food processor running, add a little water until a dough forms.
Step 3: Form the dough into logs and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. Slice and bake.
These cookies are amazing. So much so that I’m trying to come up with more ways to cook with pistachios. The flavor is so rich without being excessively sweet. A word of warning, if you can’t find the un-shelled ones, they are a bit of work to get out of the shells. Also, they are not a beautiful cookie. However, they’re perfect with a bowl of Lemon Gelato.
FAQ’s and tips
You need to use unsalted roasted pistachios.
Yes, once you form the dough into logs, wrap it in plastic wrap and then put them in a ziplock freezer bag.
If your slices are crumbling it’s because the dough is too cold. Let it warm up a little before slicing.
More amazing cookie recipes
- S’mores cookies
- Carrot cake cookies
- Blueberry white chocolate cookies
- Lemon crinkle cookies
- Brown butter coconut cookies
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Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter chilled cut into ½ pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground but not a paste, about 30 seconds. Add flour, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla; pulse until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. With machine running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water (a crumbly dough should form; do not over process).
- From into a two inch log and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour, until firm. Take out and slice into ¼ inch slices and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350º 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If refrigerated longer than an hour, you will need to let it warm up a bit before cutting.
- You can freeze the dough once you have shaped it into logs. Wrap in plastic and freeze in a ziplock bag. Let that before slicing.
- You can make the logs smaller, just reduce the cooking time.