If you follow me on Instagram (@rosesandwhiskers) then you know I’m doing an “unusual flavor combos” week with my friend Taryn (@lifeandsprinkles). I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with recipes, and I’m pleasantly surprised how much I love some of them! These pistachio sugar cookies are at the top of my list. They’re a unique spin on my classic sugar cookie recipe and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. I topped them with a ginger buttercream (and green sprinkles of course). That hint of spice complements the salty sweetness of the pistachio perfectly.
This recipe calls for both instant pistachio pudding mix and ground pistachios. If you’re gluten free like me, check the labels carefully. I used Jello brand pudding mix, which doesn’t contain any gluten-full ingredients. These are the pistachios I used. My favorite gluten free flour is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. If you use it often, it makes more sense to buy it in bulk!
Grind the pistachios into a powder using a coffee grinder or food processor. Then sift the pistachio powder. I used a sifter, but you can also use a mesh colander. The first time I made this recipe I didn’t sift the pistachio powder, and the batter was too coarse. So don’t skip this step!
Sifting the pistachios also makes it easier to whisk it together with the flour and baking powder.
You’ll also need to sift the pudding mix. There are little chunks of pistachios in it that make it more difficult to achieve a creamy consistency. Recipe development is all about trial and error. 🙂
The pudding mix gives the batter a pretty green color, but adding the flour mixture turns it an ugly green-brown. That’s why I added two drops of green gel food coloring.
My favorite tip is making the dough the night before you want to bake them. The dough only needs to chill for an hour, but it can stay in the fridge (tightly covered) for a day or two. Don’t skip any of the chilling stages! Chilling is what helps the cookies hold their shape when you bake them.
This recipe yields 2 to 3 dozen cookies depending on the size and shape of your cookie cutters. I made 30 clovers with one batch.
The secret to a good sugar cookie is not overbaking it. In fact, you want the cookies to be barely baked. That’s what gives them a soft texture. Sugar cookies are not meant to be crunchy! Bake these for no more than 7 minutes. I usually take them out after 6 minutes. The middle will still be soft, but they’ll firm up while resting on the pan for 5 minutes.
Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. I used 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, but if you like a strong ginger flavor you can add up to 1 teaspoon. Just add it 1/4 teaspoon at a time and taste it before adding any more.
Because these cookies are so soft, I’ve found it’s actually easier to freeze these before frosting them.
Make these for St. Patrick’s Day or customize them for another holiday. Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try it and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers.
Happy baking! 🙂
Pistachio Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour for gluten-full cookies, substitute all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup shelled, salted & roasted pistachios ground to a powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 6 tbsp butter-flavored Crisco
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup instant pistachio pudding mix
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 drops green gel food coloring
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2-1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp whole milk
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Ground the pistachios using a coffee grinder or food processor. Sift the pistachio powder with a sifter or mesh colander. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and pistachio powder.
- Sift the pudding mix using a sifter or mesh colander. In a large bowl, cream the butter, Crisco, pudding mix, sugar and food coloring until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.
- On low speed, gradually blend in the dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Roll out half of the chilled dough onto a floured surface until an 1/8 inch thick. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator until you're ready for it. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Don't put more than 12 cookies on a pan.
- Re-roll the scraps until you've used up the dough and then roll out the remaining chilled dough.
- Chill each sheet of cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), and then bake the cookies (one pan at a time) for no more than 6-7 minutes. Don't worry if they still look a little soft when you take them out of the oven.
- Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
- Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. Cream the butter and Crisco until smooth. Mix in half of the powdered sugar on low speed. Then add 2 tbsp of milk, 2 tbsp of heavy cream, the vanilla, 1/2 tsp of ginger and the remaining powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until just combined, and then beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add another tsp of milk and heavy cream if the frosting is too thick. You can also add more ginger if desired.
Decorate the cookies and store in an airtight container in the freezer.