When you were a kid, was there something you thought was super posh that only rich people had? I thought the epitome of wealth and class was owning a big screen tv and eating Viennetta ice cream cake. And growing up, the only time my mom ever bought pistachios, was for holidays or big events. And we weren’t allowed to eat them, because they were for guests only. To this day I still have this nagging feeling that pistachios are some decadent treat, like the good candles and hand towels, and are to be saved for special occasions.
If you’re familiar with my other cookie recipes, you’ll have noticed that I’m big on extracts and emulsions, but these cookies don’t need it. They’re packed with tons of flavor, because they have an entire cup of roasted pistachios. I used raw, unsalted pistachios, and then roasted them in the oven, before grinding in my food processor.
If you want even more pistachio flavor, I won’t stop you from adding some pistachio emulsion.
Always chop by hand or grind add-ins (chocolate chips, candy, nuts, cookies, or dried fruit) in a food processor to the consistency of coarse sand. Large add-ins will leave you with jagged edges when you cut out your cookies.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Pistachio Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring spoons and cups
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookie cutters
- large knife
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted roasted pistachios finely ground
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Grind pistachios in food processor until the texture of coarse sand.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, and ground pistachios) together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- Grind pistachios as fine as possible, comparable to the texture of almond meal or coarse sand. Larger pieces will leave you with jagged cookie edges.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.