Pistachio Butter Crescents

12.12.2012


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.
And christmas time it is, so it´s time to get festive.



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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.


22 comments:

  1. These are heavenly, Paula! What an awesome, flavorful recipe twist on a delicious classic Christmas cookie!

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  2. Actually yes.. pistachio was a key work in the post name :D These cookies look cute and addictive :)

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  3. What yummy cookies. Very Christmas-y!

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  4. at first glance at your picture i thought they were the greek shortbread biscuits, kourambiethes (which i ate many, many of in greece years ago) - an almond shortbread. yummo!

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  5. This is my kind of cookie. I love Pistachios!

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  6. My husband loves pistachios. You should see the smile on his face when I buy them. I know he would love these cookies.

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  7. These are definitely a must-bake during the X'mas season over here in Germany. I love that you used pistachio in it.

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  8. What a fantastic gift for Christmas time :D
    Looks awesome!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  9. What a perfect cookie recipe, this is something that I'm sure I can make. I always have problems with the rolling ones, and royal icing, so this is just for me. Thanks.

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  10. If I lived in your house, I would be so happy with your last four cookie recipes. On the other hand, I would probably gain some weight during the time they were available. Wonderful cookies.

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  11. I can't imagine the holdays without decorations though I think this can be a very sad time of year. The cookies look great. I love that you have a variety of textures from the pistachios.

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  12. This are so pretty and delicate looking! I'm between Christmas cookie bakes and will try to make these:)

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  13. Wow, these look fantastic. I make something similar every year with pecans - love the idea of using pistachios instead.

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  14. Wow, what a flavour combo Paula. So festive too. The touch of orange water is making me want to inhale a whole batch! I always buy shelled pistachios too. I figured they were better value but now you mention it, weight to unshelled weight value might not actually be worth it. I need to go on a discovery now and figure that out. LOL.

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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  15. I've been all about pistachios this holiday season and these look wonderful. Love the shots in powdered sugar. Pinning!

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  16. Thanks so much for sharing on our Holiday Sweets Round Up. These look amazing and I have been thinking of a cookie just like this to make. Yummy!!

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  17. So cute! Thanks you shared this at my link party!

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  18. These look scrumptious, Paula!! Funny, I just made a pistachio cookie that I plan on posting this week! Cookies and Christmas just go together!!

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  19. I think I will be making these for Christmas. I love nut crescent cookies and this sounds like a nice change from the usual almond or pecan.

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  20. Paula - how brilliant to use pistachios! These are very much like my mother's (grandmother's actually) recipe for Christmas Nut Crescents. But pistachios and orange blossom water? OMG - how amazing they must be! I will be trying them this week for Christmas - and, just for fun, I need to tell you that my orange blossom water (from India) has a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle (in Germany) on the bottle! Cute, eh? ~ David

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