These buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are turned into something spectacular with the addition of pistachios, lemon, and chocolate chips. Everyone will be asking you for the recipe!
I am new to shortbread cookies. They just didn’t seem appealing to me when I could have a soft, chewy cookie instead. (Don’t we all prefer soft cookies over crunchy ones?)
Well, I did, until now. I saw a recipe for Dark Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies and I immediately knew I had to try them.
The result? I fell head-over-heels in love with shortbread cookies and I began to realize how many variations I could make of these cookies.
My first variation was Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies. (I also added some chocolate chips to the dough, but adding it to the name would make it WAY too long. Lemon Pistachio Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies. See what I mean? The chocolate is optional anyway.)
If you’ve never made shortbread cookies before, the technique may be a little different than you’re used to. You don’t scoop these cookies. You cut them. Let me explain what I mean.
First of all, you are going to beat some butter until it’s nice and pale. Then you’ll add your lemon juice (and/or lemon essential oil). Next you’ll add powdered sugar, which is also a departure from the standard cookies we all know and love. But the powdered sugar is what gives these cookies their lovely melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Then you’ll add your flour, pistachios and chocolate chips. You may have also noticed that I did not mention eggs or any other kind of leavening. That’s because shortbread cookies are, well, short. (I don’t think that’s really why they’re called “shortbread cookies,” but it makes sense to me.)
Now here’s the novel part. You’re going to get out about an 18″ piece of plastic wrap and lay it down on your counter. Then you’re going to take all this lovely dough, squish it together in a log shape, and put it on this plastic wrap. The log should be about two inches thick. Make sure you really squish everything together. We don’t want our cookies to fall apart later on. Then you’ll roll the dough up nice and tight in the plastic wrap.
Then you are going to put the log in the freezer for a couple of hours. Yes, this takes extra time, but this is also a good thing, because you can make the dough days in advance, put it in the freezer, and then take it out when you want to bake the cookies so they will be nice and fresh.
Once you remove the dough from the freezer, let it thaw for about 15 minutes or so, and then slice it with a big, fat knife (like a butcher knife) into half-inch slices. Then place them on cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats, or on stoneware. These cookies don’t spread much, but they do spread a little.
Finally, bake them in a 320-degree oven for 16-18 minutes. You’ll notice the lower oven temperature here as well. That’s so the cookies bake nice and slowly and evenly. The result? Pure magic.
- 1 cup butter, room-temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice (You can add a drop or two of lemon essential oil if you really want to kick up the flavor. Just make sure that your essential oil is safe for internal use).
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Beat the butter for about two minutes in a large bowl. Butter should be pale and creamy.
- Add the lemon juice and beat another second or two until it is mixed in.
- Remove the bowl from your mixer (or take your beaters out of the bowl).
- Sift in the powdered sugar and gently stir with a wooden spoon.
- Sift in the flour and stir gently.
- Add the chopped pistachios and chocolate chips (if desired) and stir until combined.
- Put an 18" (approximately) sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. (You can keep the wrap from moving around by wiping the counter with a slightly damp cloth beforehand).
- Put your dough onto the wrap and form into a long “log” about two inches thick. Press log tightly together so it does not come apart.
- Roll the dough up in the plastic wrap and put in the freezer until ready to bake.
- To bake, remove the log from the freezer and allow to thaw for about 15 minutes. Unwrap and slice into 1/2" thick slices. (You may need to wait a bit longer for the log to thaw before you can cut into it. I use a large butcher knife to cut the cookie dough).
- Place on a baking sheet with a baking mat, or on a stoneware pan.
- Bake at 320 degrees for 16-18 minutes (longer if you use stoneware).