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swirl and savor

Sicilian Pistachio Cookies

Beth Ribblett

Remember those Sicilian pistachio cookies we loved so much from that little cafe in Chicago? Well, I've been thinking about them ever since and have been scouring the web for a recipe that will give me that same delicious nutty flavor, natural greenish hue and somewhat chewy middle. So I settled on a recipe, went to whole foods to get what I needed and came home to experiment with my first batch.

Both Kerry and I agreed that the cookies did not seem to have any traditional wheat flour, so I found one made with almond flour, basically finely ground blanched almonds. When I mixed everything up, the batter seemed very reminiscent of what we had so I kept my fingers crossed and put them in the oven.

The shape isn't quite the same, but on the whole, they are so delicious and simple and perfect with coffee, tea or an after dinner drink.

Makes about 50 cookies

¾ cup (4 ounces) shelled, unsalted, raw pistachio nuts, plus 5o for garnish
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
1 ⅔ cup almond flour ( I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour)
2 large eggs beaten
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a small processor, combine the ¾ cup pistachios with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse until the nuts are ground, but still a little chunky. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the flour and the remaining 1 cup sugar. Mix on low speed to combine. On medium speed, add the eggs, mixing until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper (or use a Silpat). Scoop up spoonfuls of the dough and roll between your palms into little balls about ¾ inch in diameter. Arrange on the prepared sheet pans, spacing them about 1 inch apart. You should have 50 balls. Press a pistachio into the top of each ball, flattening the dough slightly.

Bake the cookies, rotating the pans back to front at the halfway point to ensure even baking, for 10 to 12 minutes or until they spread slightly and are lightly browned on the edges. Let cool on the pans on racks for 5 minutes. Put powdered sugar in a sifter, lightly dust the tops of the cookies and then transfer to the racks to cool completely.