At nine-months pregnant, I’m not going to be celebrating Christmas with my usual flair: no international flights, no drinking one-(or two? or three?)-too-many cups of bourbon-spiked eggnog, no endless energy for hauling heavy bags of gifts, no holiday-themed cocktails, no wine. Did I mention NO wine? (OK maybe one glass, but in my mind that’s not nearly enough to properly celebrate Christmas.) I can’t even sufficiently over-eat because my stomach has been reduced to the size of a walnut to make room for more baby.
But I can still make cookies: lots and lots of beautiful, delicious, festive cookies that fill my house with joy and resolve almost all my gift-giving dilemmas. The following is a great recipe for shortbread cookies that would make a beautiful and tasty holiday gift. Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration on how to creatively package your cookies for gifting.
So, while my body is too engaged in other efforts to put up with my usual Christmas antics this year, my soul is happy each time I pull a hot tray of cookies from the oven, or wrap up a box of sweet treats for a loved-one. So here is wishing you all the happiest of holidays, whether you’ll be celebrating with cookies or wine, or hopefully both!
Chocolate-dipped Pistachio Shortbread
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (35 g) cornstarch
- scant 3/4 cup (140 g) sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (70 g) pistachios, finely chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 230 g) of high-quality butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 9 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C. Butter a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan and set aside.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar and starch in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-mixer. Add the 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios and the cold cubes of butter and beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the dough to the buttered cake pan and level with a spoon. Use a sharp knife to score dough into 16 wedges; prick all over in even intervals with a wooden skewer or fork.
Bake at 325°F / 160°C until firm in the center and just starting to color, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into wedges.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Carefully dip the wide end of each shortbread wedge into the melted chocolate, allowing the chocolate to come less than halfway up each cookie. Place cookie on a sheet of parchment or wax paper and decorate immediately with chopped pistachios while the chocolate is still wet. Allow chocolate to solidify at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if you are in a hurry.