Perfect Pistachio Cookies

Raw, shelled pistachios

The collective family sweet tooth is a difficult b*stard to satisfy. We like things that are a bit sweet, but too sweet and not a soul will touch them. A little chocolate is alright, but anything wholly chocolate will usually get very little attention. Baked fruits are mostly out, though forgivable with a home-made custard, and anything particularly fancy will be met with a modicum of hesitation and suspicion.

Is it any wonder that for dessert, we almost always resort to fresh fruit? (Has anyone had the citrus and grapes at the moment? OM-NOM-NOM-NOM! SO good!)

What this generally means is that I have to be quite wary when it comes to trying new sweet recipes, as if they don’t meet the familys fairly strict guidelines then most of the batch will have to be begged off onto friends for fear of going stale and having to be thrown out.

After chancing on a small packet of raw, shelled, UNSALTED pistachios at the local deli, I hurriedly bought a packet and brought it home, but was dismayed when I realized that I didn’t know what to do with the sods. A quick browse of the good ol’ trusty intarwebs yielded fairly unsatisfactory results, so I decided to dust off the somewhat neglected copy of “How to be a domestic goddess” on my cookbook shelf and see if Ms. Lawson had any wisdom to impart. Hoboy – did she ever!

A quick scan of the recipe index and my eyes spotted a promising recipe for some white chocolate and pistachio cookies, so I decided to give them a try, and I have to admit that the family have absolutely fallen in love! So much so, in fact, that a full batch of these cookies disappears in under a week, and they’ve been added to my ‘must make’ weekly baking roster. They’re a bit of work, especially if you don’t have easy access to peeled pistachios and ground pistachio meal, but the payoff is unbelievably worthwhile :)

Nigella Lawsons' pistachio & white choc cookies

White Chocolate & Pistachio Cookies
(adapted by necessity from “How to be a domestic goddess” by Nigella Lawson)

100g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
125g white choc chips
250g raw unsalted pistachios, shelled and peeled if possible

If you only have access to unpeeled pistachios, then you’ll need to remove the skins before progressing on with the recipe. Two reasons for this, getting rid of the brown papery skin will allow the beautiful waxy green of the nuts to shine through, plus the skin isn’t exactly tasty, and when ground will detract from the flavour of the nuts.

First, put the nuts in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic) then pour boiling water over the top and leave them to soak for about 10-15 minutes. Then drain the nuts and carefully pull off and discard the skins, setting the nuts aside for now. To dry out the now-soft nuts, preheat the oven to 100 degrees C and put the nuts in a single layer on a baking tray and dry out for about half an hour, giving them an occasional stir to prevent the bottoms from burning.

Remember, you want the nuts to be dry, not toasted, so if you see the nuts begin to colour, remove them from the oven, drop the temperature about 20 degrees and continue till the nuts are almost completely firm again.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper and set aside. Sift together the flour and baking soda and also set aside.

2. Place 100g of shelled, peeled pistachios into a food processor with the caster sugar and pulse till you have a fine meal, then place the pistachio meal in a bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios till roughly chopped, then place in a seperate bowl.

3. Cream the butter and brown sugar till soft and fluffy, then add the sugar/pistachio meal and beat well. Add the vanilla and egg and beat till combined, then beat in the flour. Once the dough is smooth and thick, add the chopped pistachio and white chocolate and mix to combine.

4. Pinch off tablespoons of dough and roll them into walnut-sized balls in your hands, then place them 10cm apart on a baking tray (they do a *lot* of spreading). Bake for 10-12 minutes, till the cookies are golden all over and a darker gold around the edges.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes, then remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling down. Stored in a dry, airtight container, these cookies will last about a week, though depending on how many mouths are around, they may devoured in a much shorter time!

Pistachio & white choc cookies

[tags]Nigella Lawson, cookies, pistachios, white chocolate, sweet, recipes[/tags]

Others who have tried this recipe:


  1. I am desparately looking for Nigella’s white chocolate,
    pistachio & golden raisin recipe. It appeared in First for Women magazine last fall. No bakes. If anyon has it..

  2. Mary – Sorry hon, never seen it!

  3. Indu R.K. says:

    OMG! These melt in your mouth…..yummy….super hit among friends and family….thank u thank u thank u….

  4. These are delicious!

  5. These look incredible! The surface of the cookie looks just divine. These are going to the top of the queue! (Though I may have to add some dried cranberries: pistachio, cran, & white chocolate are such a classic combination!)

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