I haven’t always been a fan of pistachios. In fact you could say that I used to hate them, which would be much closer to the truth. But now? I can’t get enough of them. So what changed? One fine summer morning (summer in the southern hemisphere) six years ago (almost to the day), I was introduced to a little cookie that blew me away with first impressions. And changed my mind. The meeting was far too brief for my liking, and I never got its name, but the memory of it lingered. Eventually I will return to that meeting place and reacquaint myself with that cookie many times in the following years. And then I moved away and I never heard from it again. And that’s when I decided I will take matters into my own hands and clone it in my kitchen. So I did. The name had always eluded me but that doesn’t really matter. Lets just call these Italian Pistachio Cookies, because something this alluring has got to be European right? All kidding aside, they actually are Italian cookies, as you may find them named elsewhere on the Internet.
It was February 2009. My aunt wanted to show me Little Italy in Haberfield, Sydney, where she was going to get herself some Olives and few other deli items. So I went along. She took me to a little Italian bakery (the name of which I cannot remember unfortunately!) along Ramsay street, where I found all kinds of colourful and positively delicious looking Italian sweet treats. I just wanted to get a Rum Baba, but my aunt also got me some Pistachio cookies and Cannolis! And then we went to a place called Pasticceria Papa and got a big piece of their famous Ricotta cheesecake!
If those exotic sounding words haven’t already convinced you, let me say it again. Those were little pieces of heaven in my mouth! Those cannolis are still the best I’ve ever had, the Rum Baba tasted amazing, and the cheesecake was the creamiest Ricotta cheesecake I’ve had so far. But the star was undoubtedly (and surprisingly) those soft, slightly chewy Italian Pistachio cookies! They had lovely, crunchy pistachios on the outside and a soft center. I could have eaten them all day.
As long as I was living in Sydney, I was able to catch a bus ride to Little Italy and get some of those cookies. But when I moved North along the coastline a couple of years later, I had to find a way to recreate them. I developed the recipe over several years and tried numerous batches before I got something that was very close to what I had first had in Sydney. And it’s so easy! You only need 4 ingredients: Pistachios, Almonds, Sugar and Egg whites (and no flour and no butter!). It takes less than 30 minutes from start to end. I hope you like it just as much as I do! 🙂
- 5.3oz / 150g + another 1.7oz / 50g raw pistachios
- 3.2oz / 90g sugar
- 3.2oz / 90 g blanched sliced almonds
- 1.7-2 oz / 50-55 g egg whites
- Icing sugar / Confectioners sugar to dust on top
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine 150 g of pistachios, almonds and the sugar. Process until the nuts are ground (with no large chunks left).
- Transfer the ground nuts and sugar into a clean dry bowl.
- Mix in about 1.7 oz / 50 g of egg whites with the ground nuts and sugar, and mix it with a wooden spoon until you get a slightly sticky ball of dough. (Add more egg whites if needed)
- Chop the 50 g of pistachios into smaller, coarse pieces and set aside.
- Make round cookies (that have a diameter of about 2 inches) from the dough ball and roll each one in the coarsely chopped pistachio nuts.
- Place these cookies on a prepared cookie baking tray and flatten them slightly.
- Bake them in a preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until they just start to turn brown on the top.
- Remove from oven and cool completely. Dust them with some icing sugar / Confectioners sugar.
- Makes 14 cookies, and you can keep them in an airtight container for a few days (not exactly sure how many days though because they’re usually over in 2 days in my house).
If you love Pistachios this is the cookie for you. However, even if you’r not a fan, you should still try them! 🙂 Because these cookies are what turned me to the green side! Besides they are so easy to make, why not give them a try? Soft in the center, a little chewy, not too sweet and dairy- and gluten-free!
I always make a double batch, because trust me, they are not going to last very long! So my advice is, make a double batch secretly, and then pretend like you only made one. You won’t be sorry! 🙂 As long as no one discovers your secret stash at least. If they do, you don’t know me and you never read this.
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