Imagine a tiny dark chocolate cookie with 70% chocolate chunks, roasted pistachios, and delicate, barely there crystals of sea salt. It contains no eggs so it is actually a lot like a chocolate shortbread–just on this side of crunchy while maintaining a slight softness and density of crumb in the middle. These are terrific cookies. I roll the logs of dough extremely thin, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, so that I can eat tons of them without feeling bad about stealing them from everyone else.
These cookies are inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Korova/World Peace cookies and I have tinkered with the recipe for the past three years. They began as the ideal recipe for a pregnant mama seeking a dark chocolate raw cookie dough to eat by the spoonful without fretting about raw egg consumption. (Incidentally my daughter is chocolate obsessed.)
As I have mentioned before, I am adamant that nuts must be pre-toasted before mixing into baked goods. They take on a really fragrant, enhanced flavor of (in this case) pistachios, one of my favorite nuts. For me, pistachios are redolent of the Arab Mediterranean and Sicily, usually with rose-water or orange flower water in desserts (more on a phenomenal meringue cookie with those flavors to come).
Pistachio gelato, pistachio macarons, pistachios in salads. I cannot get enough of them. They really sublimate the taste of this cookie.
Finally, my favorite thing about this recipe is that you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of months rolled into logs and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. That way whenever you have a craving for freshly baked cookies or need to give a gift to your sweet neighbor whose Australian Shepherd has passed away (sigh….), you have some ready to go.
What are your favorite cookie ingredients? Best response wins my attempt at creating your cookie for you. Enjoy!
P.S. I apologize (kind of) for the butter and cream overload in the last two posts. As penance, keep an eye out for a tasty Moroccan inspired vegan soup to help you transition from winter to spring in my next post.
Salted Chocolate Pistachio Cookies
(48 tiny cookies)
1 1/4 cup (175 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder (see note below*)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 ounces (1 stick plus 3 ounces) (150 grams) butter at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel (less if it is finer sea salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) dark chocolate like 70%, chopped into smaller bits the size of a pea
1/2-3/4 cup (115-140 grams) roasted and cooled pistachios (you can rub skins off or leave them on)
1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.
2. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is fluffy. (You can do by hand, of course.) Add both sugars and beat for another minute. Add vanilla extract and salt and beat one more minute, scrapping down the sides.
3. Carefully pour in the sifted dry ingredients and beat until the dough just pulls together and looks crumbly. Add the chopped chocolate and pistachios and beat for another 15 seconds until just incorporated. You will not have a mass of traditional-looking cookie dough. When you squeeze some together in your hand it will clump together. This is right.
4. Take a big lump of dough and begin squeezing it together to form a log. I like to make them very thin–about 1 1/2 inches in diameter if you slice them into rounds. I find that squeezing works better than rolling it out on the counter with your hands play-dough style where it falls apart. You can make several smaller logs and freeze them separately or just two longer logs of dough if you plan on making bigger batches. Wrap logs of dough in plastic wrap and freeze for a minimum of 40 minutes or up to several months.
5. To cook, preheat the oven to 325 F. If you have parchment, use it. Some cookie sheets are better than others. No worries if you do not have any. Slice the cookies about 1/4 inch thin, space them out on your cookie sheet. They do not need that much room. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning sheets 180 degrees and switching top and bottom sheets half way through the cooking. They will not look quite done since they are a butter based cookie, but that’s alright. Let cool completely. I never can resist eating a couple before the chocolate chunks have melted, but this is one cookie that is superior after it has cooled just a bit. Store in a closed container.
*Note: I have also had great success with natural unsweetened cocoa powder, especially Valrhona’s, but I like to cook them just a bit less because I feel that their more delicate flavor becomes obscured with the cooking time written as is.