Pistachios need a new hype man.
They are amazing, so why does everything that calls itself pistachio taste like almonds?! Most ice cream shops in America sell ice cream that calls itself pistachio but is actually almond, tinted green, with a handful of pistachios mixed in. You know the stuff! It has very little to do with what is awesome about pistachios. When we were in Paris and ate the pistachio gelato at Grom, I understood what pistachio ice cream could be and felt sad for all of that other, lesser ice cream.
It isn’t just ice cream. Take these cookies, which are fantastic, but are definitely not pistachio. They are called Pistachio Cookies, for reasons I cannot imagine. The cookies contain a pound of almond paste and 1 1/2 tablespoons (?!?!) of something called pistachio paste. Here is the thing: pistachio paste tastes like almonds. Sure, pistachios are the first ingredient on the can, but the last ingredient is natural flavors. Guess what the natural flavor is? Almond!
I know, I know— I can buy that imported pistachio cream from Italy and it is great. I am sure you will tell me I can also make my own pistachio paste. But 10 days into cookies, making pistachio paste is not something I want to be doing. Hell, I’d even settle for some pistachio extract. Something? Anything!
Pistachio people, if you are listening, please help.
But I guess all of that is beside the point. Despite my initial disappointment in these cookies, I love them for what they were—Almond Cookies. Perfectly lovely almond cookies that sort of remind me of the almond macaroons from Mike’s Pastry in Boston. They are especially awesome when you make them tiny, like I did.You can pile them in bowls for a little sweet treat when you need one.
I made these with the added 1 1/2 tablespoons of pistachio paste, but please don’t bother? Feel free to add a couple of drops of food coloring if you want these green.
Almond Cookies (formerly Pistachio Cookies, recipe by Fortunato Nicotra via One Sweet Cookie by Tracey Zabar)
- 1 pound almond paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pistachio paste (optional!!!)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites (if the dough seems too stiff, you can add another egg white- depends on your almond paste)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the almond paste, pistachio paste, and sugar together until smooth. Slowly add in the egg whites and mix until fully incorporated.
Fill a disposable pastry bag with the cookie dough , cut a small tip off of the bottom of the bag (I used a star tip to get the pretty design). Pipe the mixture into cookies that are a little smaller than a hershey’s Kiss. Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes. Remove the pans, and let the cookies cool on wire racks. When completely cool, dust the cookies with confectioner’s sugar.
Previously, on THE 12 DAYS OF COOKIES
Day 1: Maple Pecan Cookies 
Day 2: Fig and Date Swirls 
Day 3: Evergreen Shortbread 
Day 4: Rugelach 
Day 5: Gooey Butter Cookies 
Day 6: Poppy Seed-Honey Cookies 
Day 7: Cherry, Pistachio, Oatmeal Cookies 
Day 8: Sticky Pecan Bites 
Day 9: Jam Thimbles