I know that one of my New Year’s resolutions was dairy-free baking, but everyone needs just a little break from their resolutions every once in a while. I am no exception – particularly because I love butter. It has been fun experimenting without butter lately, but sometimes you just need a little butter in your life. With 75% of our household being dairy lovers, every once in a while we just need to indulge.
As I was making these delicious morsels, I was reminded about the last time I had pistachios in my baked goods. Yes, my wonderful week in Istanbul… So, Istanbul has always been one of those places that I read about, but never thought I would actually go there. As it turns out, I was asked to travel that in the fall for work. Lucky for me, my meetings didn’t start until Monday evening, so I had Monday during the day to explore, and I definitely wanted to make the best of it. Of course food was at the top of my list.
I did some research on the internet, and all roads led to this woman named Olga. She was amazing – her blog captivated me instantly. She runs a food tour (as well as owning a B&B), and it was exactly what I was looking for. Five hours of walking the city tasting all of the local delicacies. Fortunately I had some adventurous co-workers that I was travelling with, and when I told them about this fun excursion, they were completely on board. We had the most incredible day. It started off with a delicious breakfast (eggs with tomato sauce, cheese, peppers, sausage, etc…) then onto a pastry shop where we tried two sweets with some amazing Turkish coffee, we went to markets, local eateries, bakeries, and everything in between – and ended the afternoon at a very local fish restaurant. Of course I couldn’t try the fresh fish, but they brought me other local food to eat instead. I was absolutely stuffed, but loved every minute of it. We learned so much about the food and culture of Turkey, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Oh, and did I mention the amazing restaurant recommendations?
Of course my favorite of all the sweets I had in Istanbul was pistachio baklava – and when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, that’s immediately what I thought about. These cookies are much easier to make than baklava – although quite tasty. What I loved most about this recipe was that I could leave 3 logs in the freezer, and make a fresh batch of cookies in just minutes. The girls have been taking these in their lunches, and I think they are helping them focus in the afternoons – with all that chocolate, how could they not?
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- 5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8”-long log about 1½” in diameter, pushing dough together if it feels crumbly. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. (The colder your dough, the easier it will be to slice.)
Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Working with 1 log of dough at a time and using a serrated knife, cut logs into ¼”-thick rounds and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing ½” apart.
Sprinkle cookies with sea salt and bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until set around edges and centers look dry, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
DO AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze instead of chilling. Slice frozen logs into rounds just before baking.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Chocolate-Pistachio Sables