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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

There aren't going to be any cute anecdotes about these cookies. These are good and I like them.

I'm going to be short here. I've lost my great-grandmother yesterday. She was 101 years old. I'm going to spell that out for dramatic effect: one-hundred and one years old. I had a grandmother that lived for more than a century. She saw the rise of social justice, she saw the revolutions of the time, she saw segregation end, she saw the rise of the global internet, and she saw approximately 75 grandchildren be born and grow up. It's okay that she's gone. Her funeral is next week so I'll be flying back to my  home town to see my family there and say our final goodbyes. It's unsure if I'll blog next Sunday.

I remember her teaching me how to play chess and then throwing the board away after I beat her for the first time. I remember her playing rummikubs. I remember her showing me how to embroider and cross-stitch. She showed me how to knit once but she really preferred to crochet. I sewed all of my prom dresses and homecoming dresses with her help. I don't remember her baking much, but I do know she had a sweet tooth.

These cookies don't have much to do with her, other than the fact that I developed and perfected the recipe the other day and they brought me some joy. I hope you all feel joy today and I hope you like these cookies, too; because they're good, and I like them.

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies
yields about 24 cookies
  • 125 vegan butter
  • 110 g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 150 g flour
  • 120 g pistachios, ground
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • Pistachio paste** as needed or strawberry jam as needed
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a half-sheet pan with a silicon liner or parchment paper. 

Grind your pistachios in a coffee grinder in pulses along with the salt. You want to make sure that you shake your grinder about a little bit to make sure it doesn't turn into paste or  butter. You can also grind these in a food processor with a few spoonfuls of your flour; it all really depends on what kind of equipment you have. 

Beat the butter and sugar together using a whisk or the whisk attachment of your standing mixer, and add in the egg and vanilla. Use a spatula to add in the flour and ground pistachio mixture, stirring until everything is just incorporated. 

Using a 1 oz scoop/disher, scoop out small balls of dough and place them on your prepared sheet pan. These don't really spread, so don't be afraid to put them close together. You can roll these in your hand, if you like, and press them down just a bit with the bottom of a drinking glass to make them smoother, but I like them to be a little craggy. 

Protip: instead of using your thumb to push the indent into the cookie, use a grape. I took this red seedless grape and pressed it into the dough to make an indentation, and each cookie was uniform because of it. Neat!

Next comes the fun part: filling the cookies! You can either use pistachio paste or strawberry jam. I like both of them, but you can decide what's easier for you. You may also use raspberry but please don't use grape. What's pistachio paste? It's a paste made from pistachios! You can find it at most specialty food stores, but I hear that grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's might even carry the stuff nowadays. You can, however, make your own!

Pistachio Paste

Simply soak a cup or two of pistachios in water overnight and drain and reserve some of the water. Grind it in a food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of cane sugar and a pinch of salt. It should be a little runnier than hummus. You can store this in the fridge, covered, for about 2 weeks. It can be used to fill cakes, make creams and custards and mousses, ice creams, and - of course - fill cookies. 

It only takes a small spoonful for each well, but you don't want to overfill it either way, especially with jams. If you don't have homemade, store-bought is just fine. 

Bake these cookies at 350 for 10-12 minutes, but try not to let them brown too much, otherwise their glorious green color is dulled. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before consuming - that jam is HOT and will burn the roof or your mouth. And you will scream. And your husband will come up from the basement, running at full speed, and stub his toe on the refrigerator. And he'll fall and you'll both end up on the kitchen floor. It will not be cute like those stupid rom-coms that lied to us when we were little. It will be chaos and will hurt a lot. 

These cookies are great for a quick something to snack on. You'll want to double or even triple the recipe, as you'll eat most of them yourself. Seriously they didn't even last a full 24 hours in my house. They're, like, really good. You can use regular butter if you like, but I use Earth Balance, which is my favorite vegan butter that acts and tastes very much like the real thing. Up to you!

Thanks, all! Happy cooking and happy eating!

1 comment:

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