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Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

The natural pale green color of these pistachio shortbread cookies points to holiday celebrations, but the flavors—subtle yet distinctive—will call to you to make the recipe throughout the year. Although I have to admit, this easy recipe comes in especially handy during the busy holiday season—simply roll the dough into a log, slice, and bake as needed! We include these buttery, rich pistachio shortbread cookies in our Christmas cookie box each year.–Leslie Mackie

LC Shortbread Or Cookie? Note

Are these pistachio shortbread or are they cookies? Tender and crumbly like shortbread, yet subtly flavored and sweet like cookies, they’re actually neither. Or perhaps they’re both. We’ll let you be the judge.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 20 2-inch cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled raw or roasted pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, sanding sugar, or raw sugar, for garnish

Directions

  • 1. Pulse the flour, granulated sugar, salt, pistachios, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pistachios are finely ground. Scatter the butter pieces in the food processor and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour. Stop pulsing when the ingredients just come together and cling to one another. (Watch carefully, as food processors work very fast and can easily overmix the dough. At first the mixture will have a coarse, crumbly texture, but then if you’re not careful it will quickly turn into a paste.)
  • 2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. (If the dough is too sticky, toss it in the fridge for 10 or so minutes to make it easier to work with. Dampening your hands ever so slightly with cold water also helps.) Place the log on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Tightly roll the wrap around the log and twist the ends to seal them securely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. (This dough also freezes well for up to 3 weeks if wrapped tightly in plastic.)
  • 3. Position 2 racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF (163ºC). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • 4. Cut the chilled cookie dough into 1⁄2-inch-thick coins and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush the top of each shortbread cookie with water and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden brown on both top and bottom. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the pistachio shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
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