April 1, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
As is my usual Monday routine, I checked my go-to news sources and became a bit distraught at the state of affairs. I don’t know who is spiraling out of control faster, Kim Jong Un or Lindsey Lohan. (So maybe one of my news outlets is E! Online.) That, along with witnessing the horrible injury sustained by Kevin Ware during the Duke v. Louisville game last night, and I find myself a bit shaken today. But at least when all else seems a mess, I can find a little enjoyment in my cup of coffee and a perfect breakfast cookie. Okay, it’s just a cookie that I happen to be consuming in the morning. So sue me.
I’m pretty sure the idea for these treats, Pistachio Shortbread with Honey Frosting, came to me in an actual dream. I honestly woke up one morning, thinking, Yes! That would be a perfect cookie! And now these might be my new favorite cookies. Disclaimer, for someone who doesn’t have the biggest sweet tooth, I really really love sugar cookies with icing. My step-mother makes perfectly soft and buttery sugar cookies decorated with red and green buttercream at Christmas time and I find it impossible to stop myself from eating an entire plateful.
I also used to hate pistachio in sweet items. As a child, I just did not understand pistachio ice cream. It blew my mind, in a bad way. Green dessert = barf. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I unknowingly bit into a pistachio flavored macarons. Amazing! Thanks to this accidental discovery, I got really really into this subtle sweet flavor. For some reason the nutty sweetness in fact works perfectly for my taste palate.
And I love nut flavored desserts with honey, so I thought I would combine the honey into a frosting to make my dream cookie. I held back a little on the sweetness in the shortbread because of the added sugar hit on top. Also, be sure to use a really good strong honey so that the flavor comes through before you add too much and it becomes uber-sweet.
Make sure that some of your pistachios are very finely chopped, so that the flavor combines with the flour throughout the cookies. Then the other half of the nuts should be fairly rough to add texture.
At some point, it will become easiest to use your hands to finish mixing the flour and nuts so just get in there and get dirty!
Again, use your hands to spread the dough evenly out into the baking tray. Then cover with wax paper, smoothing out any fingerprints or bumps, and chill for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Be sure to cut the cookies while they are still warm, about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Once cut, leave them in the pan to cool entirely. Otherwise they will crumble.
After they are cooled, remove from the pan and spread with a layer of honey scented icing.
Pistachio Shortbread with Honey Frosting
Makes 24 bars
For the Shortbread:
1 ½ cups butter, room temperature
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup superfine sugar
3 oz. pistachios, divided
For the Frosting:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup cream cheese
¼ cup honey
1 cup powdered sugar
Chop half of the pistachios roughly and the other half very finely.
Cream the butter until smooth, using a handheld or standing mixer. Add the sugar, 1 ½ cups of flour, salt, and the finely chopped pistachios. Mix completely.
Add the roughly chopped pistachios and remaining cup of flour. Mix using a wooden spoon and then your hands until incorporated.
Spread evenly into a 9”x13” baking dish. Cover with wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Bake at 325˚F for 25-30 minutes, until the shortbread just turns light golden.
Slice the shortbread while it is still warm, about 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven. But then allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the pan.
Meanwhile, blend the ingredients for the frosting until very smooth.
Spread with a thin layer of icing and serve.