Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pistachio Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Hey there!  It's that time of year again for the annual holiday cookie post.  For once though, I'm giving you a tasty recipe before Christmas, so you have plenty of time to bake for Jesus' birthday celebration or NYE.  Last year's cookie was a newbie, the Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal, the season previous to that was an old favorite, Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies.  I guess I like pecans in my cookies??  If you don't jive on that nut, or want something sweet yet different than a cookie, how about making some Butterscotch Bars?

Making cookies sure does help get in the holiday spirit, like listening to my BB King Blue Christmas album while decorating the tree.  It would also be nice to have some of the white stuff precipitating outside, sure would look pretty with the Christmas lights glowing underneath a layer of fresh powder.  Chicago has set a record for consecutive days without measurable snow, tomorrow will be 290.  December has already seen a day with a 70F degree high.  Add it to the list of fucked up weather the last couple years, with the hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, heat waves and droughts.  Yet climate change is just something those goofy scientists and lefty liberals made up to convince others to hug trees, save whales, and stifle big business.  I know I often write about the weather, but it's so directly related to food it's hard not to speak on the subject.

But hey, let's not let the last couple centuries of burning fossil fuels ruin our holiday spirit!  Let's make cookies!!  Santa doesn't rely on an internal combustion engine to power his vehicle, BTW. 

You'll need a food processor and stand mixer, and if you don't have these items now is a great time to purchase them on a sale.  You do buy yourself a gift every year, right? I'm typing on mine!  If you bake often, (which I don't but have a problem limiting my kitchen gear) a silpat or silicone baking mat is lovely for easy clean-up. 

Speaking of ease, buy pistachios already shelled, the quality won't suffer. 

If you don't want to mess with the chocolate, feel free to omit it.  My better half does backflips for dark chocolate, and I like the way the cookies appeared to have been decorated by a 5 year old.  I didn't press down enough to flatten them before baking, so they weren't as flat as I would have liked. 

Pistachio Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
makes about 24 cookies

2 C shelled raw pistachios, about 12 ounces
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
1/3 C confectioners sugar
1/2 ts kosher salt
1 ts vanilla, homemade preferred
1/2 ts almond extract
1 ts water
1/4 C white granulated sugar
2 oz dark chocolate
1/2 ts vegetable or canola oil

Fire up the oven to three honey.  Spread the pistachios out in a single layer on a sheet pan and toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes.  Let cool a bit (spreading out on another sheet in a single layer) before processing in your food processor until finely ground.  Pulse until ground so you don't end up with paste.  

In the bowl of your stand mixer, attach the beater blade and the butter, sugar, and salt.  Beat on high until light and fluffy,about 5 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.  Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour gradually, until just blended.  Don't over mix!  Add the vanilla, almond extract, and water.  Using the spatula, fold in the pistachios and then form into a ball.

Using a TB or spoon, form about TB portions of dough into round balls, like making meatballs.  Put the granulated sugar into a small bowl and roll the little dough balls around to coat.  Place on a sheet pan lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper, 2" apart.  Press the balls down slightly with a fork to flatten. 

With 12 dough balls per sheet pan, you'll have one pan in the middle rack of the oven and one in the top zone.  Bake for 10 minutes, then switch the pans, bake for another 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned.  Cool on a rack placed on a foil-lined sheet pan. 

In the microwave or a double-boiler, melt the chocolate with a touch of oil.  Drizzle over the cookies and then let set for at least 30 minutes.  Will keep at room temp in a closed container for a few days.

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