First of all, my deepest thanks to all of you who took the time to leave a comment in my last post or sent me an e-mail. I wasn´t planning on posting such a personal, and long, post, but it kind of wrote itself. A few words and suddenly the whole thing was there, waiting to be shared. So thank you, thank you, thank you. My days are so much richer since I started blogging.
Second of all, focusing on today´s post, I can´t believe this is my fourth cookie post in a row! What has gotten over me? Holiday spirit? I didn´t even know I had a lot of it. I haven´t decorated a christmas tree in years, don´t even own one. The horror, I know.
At least I baked you some buttery, nutty, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
If you´re anything like me, the word pistachio alone draws your attention. Then you find out these are nothing more than the almond butter balls, but made with pistachios and shaped like a crescent. But since these have some lemon zest and orange blossom water in it, I think they are more sophisticated and festive. Yet just as good.
Pistachios have a reputation of being expensive and hard to shell. Well, there´s a truth in that, but that´s why there are holiday priorities. Depends on where yours are. Or how much you love pistachios, not only in taste but also to look a that gorgeous greenish tainted food.
I don´t mind shelling them, though I often buy shelled ones. They are even more expensive, but come to think of it, I never weighed the shells alone and did the math. Maybe they will turn out to be cheaper. And you would´ve avoided getting comfy, putting some music on and concentrating on the nail chipper business that is pistachio shelling. I might be exagerating a bit I know.
But just as hazelnuts are a bit of a work out, so are pistachios, but so worth it.
My grinder does such a good job with the pistachios that I get a flour more than a ground nut. Since it´s a coffee bean grinder I can´t blame it. So I chop half of the nuts by hand. If you do that, be careful because if you start chopping energetically you´ll have pistachios flying everywhere.
I needed to get a bit creative here and try to give these little cookies all the combination of flavors I could. Citrus go very well with pistachios. And so does orange blossom water. So a combination was born for two reasons. I have an unopened bottle of said water that I wanted to use and in these latitudes it´s a very festive flavor, used in the traditional pannettone, an italian fruit cake, that gets sold like water in the dessert around christmas time here. It´s not a holiday unless you bought or someone gave you a pannettone.
PISTACHIO ORANGE BUTTER BALLS
adapted from this Almond Butter Balls recipe, by Kathleen King
The citrus and water are here very sublte, just a hint to complement the nuts.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies
1 cup butter (225g), at room tº
4 Tbs (60g) confectioners´ sugar
½ teaspoon orange blossom water
Zest of ½ a small lemon
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
¾ cup ground toasted pistachios
Extra confectioners´ sugar, for coating
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add zest, orange blossom water and beat well.
Add flour, 1 cup at a time and then the pistachios. Mix just until smooth.
Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Roll portions of cold dough between your palms to form balls. Place 1-inch apart on lined baking tray.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are a bit golden and cracked.
Let cool on a wire rack. Roll in some extra confectioners´ sugar to coat.
These cookies freeze well unbaked. When you need them, just line them up on a parchment-lined or greased baking tray, thaw, and bake.