Pistachio Shortbread Cookies ~ a classic buttery shortbread slice and bake cookie loaded with fresh pistachios!

Pistachio Shortbread 1

I’m taking advantage of the surplus of nuts in the stores during the holidays to make lots of these buttery pistachio shortbread cookies loaded with freshly shelled nuts and a hint of vanilla.  I used unsalted roasted pistachios packaged still in the shell, they’re fresher that way, and I used enough of them so that you can actually taste the pistachio flavor.  Believe it or not, you can actually buy real PISTACHIO EXTRACT for a more pronounced taste, and someday I may try that, but for me the vanilla and the nuts themselves make for a really subtle and unusual cookie.  Depending on how thick you slice them, and precisely how long you cook them, they will either be crispy or buttery, it’s your call.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Dough

Slice and bake cookies never turn out quite as perfectly round as roll out cookies, but they have a nicer texture, I think.  Make sure the dough is nice and cold, and use a sharp, serrated knife, I used a bread knife, and a gentle sawing motion to slice through the dough cleanly.  If you want to insure that the log of dough stays round while it chills, you can take a tube from an empty paper towel roll and cut it open lengthwise.  Then set the log of dough inside and it will keep it shape.  You can also set the dough on a bed of uncooked rice to support it in the refrigerator.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies cooling

I’m all about the easy cookie these days.  I have lots of more complicated recipes on my to-do list, but as the days before Christmas dwindle, I have to pare things down to the essentials.  This is a rustic cookie you can really sink your teeth into, and about as easy as it gets…

 

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies 3

A little stack of these cookies makes the perfect offering if you’re going visiting, or if people show up on your doorstep unexpectedly.  I keep a whole lineup of shortbread dough in the freezer during the weeks leading up to Christmas and I can’t tell you how useful they are.  Even after it’s baked, shortbread lasts a long time without going stale, so it’s really a holiday workhorse.  I have lots of other shortbread cookie recipes on the blog, so check them out for more inspiration.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies vertical

I use decorative take out style boxes for small cookie gifts, not only because they look great, but they’re sturdy so you don’t have to worry about crushing all your hard work.  They’re small enough that you can make a nice gift out of just a few cookies.   You can find them all over the place, mine are from Cost Plus.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Yield: about 21 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks, (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole pistachios

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar together.
  3. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Blend them into the butter and sugar, until it forms a dough.
  5. Stir in the pistachios and make sure you get them well distributed in the dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it into a log, about 9 or 10 inches long. Wrap it in the plastic and smooth it into a uniform smooth shape, twisting the ends to secure.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  8. Slice the dough into 1/4 - 1/3 inch slices and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Thinner slices will bake up crispier, and thicker ones will be more buttery and soft.
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes, maybe a little longer for thicker cookies. The cookies will still be pale and soft, but will firm up as they cool.
  10. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pistachio-shortbread-cookies/

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21 Responses to Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

  1. Dan says:

    Thanks for the recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend setting the oven in the first step since the dough needs to be refrigerated for hours/overnight.

  2. Susan says:

    Hi Sue, I made these cookies just a few hours ago and they’re delicious. They took longer to bake for me, about 17 minutes, and I’m thinking it may have to do with the kind of baking trays we’re using.

    At any rate, the cookies are quite good. I’m going to make the chocolate walnut shortbread next, and I’m really anxious to try the savory pistachio shortbread. When I do I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    Love your site.

    • Sue says:

      The baking trays could make a difference, Susan, and it could also be an issue with the oven temperature…it’s surprising how many ovens don’t cook at an accurate temperature, and even a small deviation can make a difference…although most of us get used to our particular ovens and compensate for them in lots of ways!

  3. I think these are my very favorites! Pinned and Stumbled!

  4. Gayatri says:

    yummy cookies! I have made them and shared them too!???? thank you for the recipe.

  5. Sapphire says:

    is it ok to use confectioners sugar instead ? In all your other shortbread recipes you’ve used confectioners sugar but in this granulated …. How come ?????…. Cookies look amazing btw….

    • Sue says:

      You are observant! I like to change things up, you can use either, but lately I prefer granulated sugar. If you like these cookies and you make them more than once, you can try both ways and see what you think!

  6. GaleMarie says:

    These look absolutely devine. I have all ingredients on hand but was wondering if I finely crushed some pistachios and added them to the dough along with the whole nuts if you think that would give the cookie more of a pistachio taste without hurting the actual cookie. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Sue says:

      You can certainly try that, GaleMarie, it will probably give the cookie a slightly more ‘sandy’ texture. Let me know, it sounds good!

  7. […] Pistachio Shortbread from The View from Great Island: If you love simple cookies with a slight twist, buttery shortbread dotted with festive pistachios is the way to break a holiday baking rut. […]

  8. […] Pistachio Shortbread Cookies from The View from Great Island […]

  9. cristina says:

    Making these cookies – I love pistachios and who doesn’t love shortbread? Thanks for the tip on the pistachio extract, I’ve never even seen a pistachio extract before. Will need to try it in something! ;)

    • Sue says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Cristina, I hope you do find the extract, I’d collect them all if I could. The good quality ones are worth their weight in gold!

  10. Beautiful cookies, beautiful photos!

  11. I love shortbread and the pistachios are so pretty!

  12. Eileen says:

    Now this is my kind of cookie! Super easy, not too sweet, and full of delicious nuts. I think I may need to get on the pistachio train very soon!

  13. Karen Harris says:

    Love these cookies! I just might have to make some for my pistachio loving husband. I agree by the way, Prosecco, definitely Prosecco.

  14. I like these green nuts in your shortbread cookies. I would mind having one with a glass of prosecco :) ela

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