Whenever I see a box of Sandies Butter Pecan cookies in a grocery aisle, my heart melts and I am tempted to pick up a box or two. I literally relied on these as a pick-me-up during grueling grad school days. Shortbreads are one of my favorites, because I love their soft cake-like texture, yet they have a crunch to every bite. So when I came across these beautiful Pistachio Shortbread Cookies over at King Arthur Flour, I knew I had to bake them at home. The lovely green color and the extra flavor added by the nutty Pistachios makes them way better than the plain ones. And they are so beautiful to look at, you can easily flaunt them at your next tea party, maybe one for St.Patrick’s Day as well!
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Yields 24 shortbread wedges
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 box (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pistachio flavor, optional
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2/3 cup shelled, finely chopped pistachio nuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 8″ or 9″ cake pans. If you worry about the shortbread possibly sticking in your particular pans, line them with parchment, and grease the parchment.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, pistachio pudding mix, sugar, salt, and pistachio flavor, then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first, but keep beating till it comes together.
[My Notes: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to help it bind, but not any more. The dough should be stiff, more like a scone rather than cookies or cake batter. So keep beating, and use water sparingly.]
Divide the dough in half. Press each half into one of the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers.
Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Divide the chopped pistachios between the two pans, spreading them evenly and gently pressing them down onto the surface of the dough.
Bake the shortbread until it’s a deep golden brown around the edges, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven, and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean work surface. If you are using a parchment, just remove the whole parchment, put it on a cutting board, and slice into wedges using a sharp knife with serrated edges. Do this while the cookies are warm, so its easier to cut and they won’t crumble.
Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool down.
These Pistachio Shortbread cookies are soft and chewy, just how a shortbread should be. The Pistachio flavoring given in the recipe was a little less for me, so next time, I will add a teaspoon more for more enhanced flavor. you can use the same recipe and substitute with vanilla essence and other nuts of your choice for a wonderful twist. But before you do that, at least try the Pistachio flavor once, I promise you it will be worth it.