I swear July has seemed like the longest month ever. It is strange – it has been amazingly beautiful here, the nicest summer I can ever remember (in 17 years!), I have made it to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and I have gotten some good cooking time in on the weekends (ok, bare minimum of what I find acceptable). Aside from my frantic work weeks, and the fact that most nights I head home just completely stressed out – ok, maybe that’s why it has been a long month… I am looking forward to August – looking forward to maybe getting a break, and maybe (just maybe), working on getting my piles of recipes down to a respectable size.
I love pistachios – they are hands down my favorite nut out there. I love when I crack open the shells, and find a really green one – and I love even more when I buy the pre-shelled pistachios from Trader Joes. Boy are those dangerous. Opening up the shells actually slows you down a bit – but when you can pop a whole handful in your mouth at once…they can definitely go quickly. I remember seeing this recipe in Bon Appetit and imagining exactly how these would taste. I was very strategic though on when I made them – I wanted to make sure I knew what to do with the entire bag of pre-shelled pistachios, before I ate myself sick. The weekend finally came along and I had 2 different recipes with pistachios all set and ready. I snuck a few in my mouth here and there, but I was good – and had plenty to make both desserts.
These shortbread were fantastic – maybe even the best I have made yet. They were crunchy and buttery and that was before I even brought out the strawberry jam. Once the jam came out – it took them to an entire different level – a level that I have not experienced with shortbread before. Wow, what a treat.
As we end July – I want to remind everyone that summer is not over yet – and it is not too late to get out there and have some fun in the sun. And for those who are like me, there are still plenty of long days left to make lots more jam. In fact – maybe that’s exactly what I need to start doing after work – how’s that for a stress reliever? Uh oh, I am starting to think I am the best nut out there.
- 1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios (about 4 1/2 ounces)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground but not a paste, about 30 seconds. Add flour, sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla; pulse until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. With machine running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons ice water (a crumbly dough should form; do not over process). Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment paper and pat into a rectangle. Top with another sheet of parchment and roll out to a 12×8-inch rectangle. Transfer dough (in parchment paper) to a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Remove top sheet of parchment paper from dough and discard. Cut dough lengthwise into 8 equal strips, then each strip crosswise into quarters, forming 32 rectangles. Place rectangles on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Bake shortbread until golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.
DO AHEAD: Shortbread can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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