Happy Sunday everyone! I have been delayed posting this recipe as I have been knee deep in cookie dough for the past week, and have been busy running last minute errands before Christmas. Speaking of which, there’s only 3 more days to go! If you’re looking for any other last minute baking ideas, check out these adorable Chocolate Pistachio Christmas tree cookies!
I made these cookies last weekend as part of my annual Christmas baking marathon. I’ve only made them once before, and it wasn’t until I made them again that I remembered why.
These cookies are both beautiful and delicious, but they are a bit tedious to make. If you’re only making 1 or 2 batches of cookies, the process isn’t so bad, but if you’re making double batches of 13 different types of cookies…well, let’s just say any tedious recipe at that point feels like pure torture.
To start out, combine some butter and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan.
Set the saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the butter has just melted and is well combined with the sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in some vanilla. Leave the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
Once the mixture has cooled slightly, stir in a beaten egg until incorporated. Next, add the flour and cocoa powder, and stir until just combined.
Your dough will be fairly soft due to the melted butter, and should be easy enough to stir with a stiff spatula or a wooden spoon.
Add some finely chopped pistachios and mix until just combined.
Once your pistachios are mixed in, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc shape, wrap them separately in some plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. This is a step you don’t want to skip, as the dough will be too soft to work with easily if you don’t chill it first.
Take one of your chilled dough discs and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. In general, I tend to roll my cookies slightly thinner than 1/4 inch, but this dough is a little bit fragile. You will find it much easier to handle if you stick closer to the 1/4 inch mark and don’t try to make it too thin.
When your dough is rolled out, use a tree shaped cookie cutter (or another shape if you prefer), to cut out all your shapes.
Gather up and re-roll any of the remaining dough scraps. Continue this process until all the dough is used up, then repeat with the second half of the dough.
Place the dough cut outs about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are slightly firm.
Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, you can prepare your finishing touches – the chocolate and ground pistachios. To grind up the pistachios, I gave them a few quick blasts in the blender. You can also use a food processor, or if you’re dedicated, chop them by hand. (This is what I used to do before I finally got a decent blender…very time consuming…but it’s worth it in the end!)
You’ll also need to melt some chocolate for dipping. You could melt the chocolate in the microwave, but for dipping these cookies, I think melting the chocolate in a double boiler is much more practical. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one yourself.
Fill a small saucepan with some water, and rest a heat proof bowl over top of the saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the bowl sits higher than the surface of the water, so that it isn’t directly touching. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl, and then heat the saucepan over medium-low heat. The steam heat from the water will warm the bottom of the bowl, causing the chocolate to melt. For these cookies, this is a better method than just microwaving the chocolate, as there will be continuous heat keeping the chocolate warm, so it doesn’t set while you’re trying to dip your cookies. Try to keep the temperature as low as possible so your chocolate doesn’t get too hot.
Once your chocolate is melted, take the cookies one by one, and dip half of them in the chocolate. Give them a gently shake to remove any excess chocolate, and then dip the edge of the cookie in the crushed pistachios.
Place the cookies on a sheet of clean parchment paper, and leave them to set at room temperature until the chocolate has firmed up.
These cookies are quite the show stopper. The green pistachio edge contrasts really nicely with the chocolate, and makes for a delicious salty-sweet combo. I’d definitely recommend giving these a try!
Chocolate Pistachio Christmas Tree Cookies
For the Cookie Base
- 1 cup butter
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cups finely chopped pistachios
- 1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
Bake the Cookies
- In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until the butter is just melted.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
- Stir in the beaten egg.
- Add the flour and cocoa powder and stir until just combined.
- Stir in the finely chopped pistachios.
- Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc, then tightly wrap the discs in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
- Take one disc and roll into out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Use a tree shaped cookie cutter (or another shape if you prefer) to cut all your cookies out of the dough. Re-roll any dough scraps and continue cutting out your shapes until all the dough is used up. Repeat this process with the second half of the dough.
- Place the dough cut outs onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, spaced out 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to firm.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate the Cookies
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or in the microwave (see notes below).
- Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate and shake of any excess chocolate.
- Immediately dip the edge of the cookie into the ground pistachios.
- Place the cookies onto a clean sheet of parchment paper and leave them to set at room temperature until firm.
- Recipe modified slightly from Better Homes & Garden
- Regarding melting the chocolate: If you don't have a double boiler, you can make your own by filling a small saucepan with some water, and resting a heat proof bowl over top of the saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the bowl sits higher than the surface of the water, so that it isn't directly touching. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl, and then heat the saucepan over medium-low heat. The steam heat from the water will warm the bowl, and the chocolate will melt. For these cookies, this is a better method than just microwaving the chocolate, as there will be continuous heat keeping the chocolate warm, so it doesn't set while you're trying to dip your cookies. Try to keep the temperature as low as possible so your chocolate doesn't get too hot.