Happy 2011 to all who are reading. It is crazy to me that a single day takes us from one year to the next: yesterday 2010, today 2011. The time seems to pass so quickly and so slowly, all at the same time.
I made this batch of cookies a couple of weeks ago... Before Christmas. Before beaches, sunshine (and rain), and helicopters in Kauai. Before 2011. Before all of the other things that happened in between.
Given that Marika and I have consumed many (many) dozens of shortbread cookies over the course of our friendship, I suppose it could be considered alarming that this is the first time I've made shortbread myself. I had decided to try something new to bring to my work team's holiday celebration and found myself perusing cookie recipes. There were a couple from Mary Engelbreit's Cookies Cookbook (which I picked up in college; it's now out of print) that caught my attention: one for classic shortbread, and another featuring cookies dipped in melted chocolate then sprinkled with pistachios. I decided to merge the two.
Strangely, I had trouble finding plain pistachios at the grocery store. After much searching, I found an endcap rack with bags from Santa Barbara Pistachio Company, however they were mostly in savory flavors, which would certainly not pair with chocolate. Then I found a single bag of Lemon Zing and decided to give them a try.
I am tempted to call this the perfect cookie: the shortbread provides crisp, buttery goodness without being overly sweet. The salty, lemony pistachios provided a bit of zing (true to name). And who doesn't like a cookie that has been dipped in chocolate?
Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread
Makes about 3 dozen
1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. all purpose flour
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. pistachios, finely chopped
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour.
Divide dough into half. Shape each half into a 7x4-inch rectangle and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.
Roll out each piece of dough between sheets of plastic wrap to form a 10x6x1/2-inch rectangle. Peel off the top sheet and trim edges even. Cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until just beginning to golden around the edges. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Melt chocolate in a small pan. Dip cookies into chocolate, coating about a third, then sprinkle dipped portion with pistachios. Place cookies on wax paper. Let stand for about 1 hour, until chocolate is set.
One year ago: sauteed green beans with fried shallots