Friday, August 1, 2014

Pistachio Bars

I have been eyeing this recipe for a while, and now that I have opened my big bag of pistachios from Costco, it was the right time to make them! This is a very simple shortbread-inspired cookie, topped with chopped pistachios. The recipe called for unsalted pistachios, but then you added salt to the dough. My pistachios were salted, so I just omitted the salt. I figured it would work out. I love the taste of salty pistachios anyway!

This dough isn’t hard to make, grinding the pistachios takes no time when you have a food processor. What really did take time was spreading the dough in the pan. It’s quite a big pan that you use and it doesn’t seem like there will be enough dough to spread out, but if you work with it enough you can get it to fit.

Bake them just until golden on the edges. These cookies are thin so it doesn’t take too much extra time to over bake them. Nothing’s worse than a dry cookie! These crumble a bit when you cut them. You might think that they will be dry, maybe like biscotti, but they aren’t. They maintain a bit of chewiness in the center, but also have a nice crunchy/crumbly texture. The lemon zest is subtle, but you can certainly pick it up and it adds a lot to these cookies. These cookies were a nice change of pace from thick, heavy bar cookies.

Pistachio Bars
1 cup shelled, whole, salted pistachios, divided
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 13” x 18” baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line it with foil; then spray the foil. Set aside.

In a small food processor, place ½ cup of the pistachios. Process until finely ground. In a medium bowl combine the ground pistachios and the flour. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes in medium. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 60 seconds after adding each egg. Stir in the almond extract and lemon zest.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the pistachio/flour mixture. The dough will be soft. Spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan, using a spatula or dampened hands. The dough will end up being spread quite thin; take your time with this step to ensure that your cookies are even.

Coarsely chop remaining 1/2 cup pistachios in food processor or by hand and sprinkle them over the dough. Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over nuts.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until dough is firm and lightly golden along the edges. Rotate the pan half way through the baking time to ensure that the cookies are evenly baked.

Allow the bars to cool in the pan. To cut the bars, lift the cookies from the pan, using the foil as a handle. Peel away the foil and cut into squares or bars.

Recipe from Food Gal

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