Over the past several weeks my kitchen has been used more often than when I ran my little B&B. (That may be a stretch, but you get the idea.) Except for the cleanup, I find baking and cooking extremely therapeutic. Plus, the rewards for my efforts are always worth it.
As you know, I’ve been pushing myself to try some new things this year and hope to venture into more of the savory side of things soon. But for now, I’m happy to focus on the sweeter things in life.
Speaking of pushing myself, I’m always up for a good challenge. So when my friends at KitchenAid gave me the challenge to MAKE SHORTBREAD TALL, I was in! The only other time I’ve tried my hands at shortbread was when I made one of my family’s favorite cookies, this White Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread. KitchenAid wanted to see if I could make Pistachio Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches with a Dark Chocolate Filling. I was actually thrilled to get this challenge since I had never really made something like this before. And I love me some pistachios!
I was fortunate to find shelled pistachios at my local grocery store. (I figured I’d have to shell them so this was a big win!) I wanted to include pistachios in the dough and also sprinkle some on the cookies. For the dough, I needed the pistachios to be finely chopped – almost ground. I knew my KitchenAid® Food Processor, with its three power settings, ExactSlice™ System, and Ultra Wide Mouth™ Feed Tube, would meet the challenge. It’s capable of slicing, shredding, kneading, chopping and puréeing almost any food. I threw about a half a cup of shelled pistachios in with the standard blade, turned it on high and within minutes I had exactly what I was looking for. This would infuse the cookie with flavor without being overly crunchy.
I then threw in some more pistachios and gave them a quick buzz around, leaving them a little chunkier. This would add a nice crunch to the top of the cookie. Perfect!
With the pistachios ready, I pulled out my stand mixer to get the dough working. As I learned from the recipe, shortbread isn’t easy. It actually took me two attempts. So I thought I would share a couple tricks to make it easier for you.
First, make sure the butter is super soft. Leave it out overnight. When you are ready to make your dough, unwrap the butter, set it on a plate, and give it about 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave so it just starts to melt. Since there is no liquid in the dough, this helps to prevent your dough from getting too crumbly.
Second, when rolling out the dough, work in small batches. If the dough is still a little too crumbly, sprinkle it with a little milk. That will help to bring things back together. I think shortbread is one of those things, like pie crust, that you need to get comfortable with “how it feels” before you can perfect your art.
The chocolate filling and glaze are very simple to make and come together quickly. I used dark chocolate, but if you prefer milk chocolate, feel free to make the substitution.
Let me show you how to make these.
Here's what you will need:
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cups pistachios, very finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons special dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon Crisco
1/8 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until combined. Then add the vanilla.
Next add the flour, pistachios, and salt to the mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough so that it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the cookies with a round cookie cutter or the top of a round glass. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool at room temperature.
To make the filling, in your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. If necessary, you can add more milk for a smoother filling or more powdered sugar to stiffen it up.
Once the cookies are cool, fill a piping bag or a plastic baggie with the chocolate filling. Pipe onto half of the cookies. Then top with a second cookie and gently press until the filling spreads to the edges.
For the drizzle, melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwavable bowl (or in a double broiler). Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer to a plastic bag. Snip off a tiny portion of one corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate on top of the cookies. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios for a garnish.
And that completes your cookies. Grab a cup of milk, coffee, or tea and enjoy!
The combination of the sweet cookie, dark chocolate, and salty pistachios is kind of magical.
To make matters even better, they totally look like mini-masterpieces. What do you think? As you know from previous recipes I posted here, I especially love doing a cross-hatch with the chocolate. It’s simple, but looks so professional.