Chocolate Nudges


Love means sometimes having to bake with chocolate.

It’s valentines week and, love it or hate it, you’ve still got to eat. May I suggest these perfect little chocolate and pistachio cookies? Chocolate?! you say? Truth be told, my dislike of chocolate has probably been over-stated. Sometimes I like it, though I almost never prefer it (expect perhaps in the case of cheap milk shakes). I prefer chocolate as an accent, but rarely as the focus. You can keep your Death-by-Chocoholic-Avalanche-Lava-Cakes. But Bryan loves it, and because I am such a sweet husband, I baked him these cookies.


This recipe is from the Saltie cookbook, which I absolutely love. It is so charming and slight and really gives you a glimpse into the world of the Williamsburg sandwich shop. We need more restaurant cookbooks like this, small communities instead of huge empires. I have been happy with every recipe I have tried from the book, and it has quickly earned a permanent home in my cookbook collection.

I ended up adapting the recipe for these slightly fudgey cookies a bit to suit both myself and Bryan (I’m not that selfless). The cookie dough is flavored with cocoa, pistachios, rum and vanilla and the combination is perfect. The original recipe has you throw in a bunch of chocolate chips at the end. I did that for Bryan’s half of the dough and left mine plain. I loved mine, he loved his, and he also loved mine. So, it was a win-win-win. Next time I will throw a handful of coarsely chopped pistachios into my half of the dough. You do what you like, but I think this is a cookie that even chocolate skeptics can enjoy.

Chocolate Nudge Cookies (adapted slightly from Saltie: A Cookbook by Caroline Fidanza)

  • 1/2 cup shelled, toasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus 3/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark (dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using the pulse setting, grind the pistachios and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a food processor until they have the consistency of coarse meal.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and rum.

Add the dry ingredients and the pistachios to the butter mixture, beating until well-combined and scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Put the 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and toss the balls of dough in the sugar until evenly coated. Place the cookies on the prepared sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until they begin to crackle all over the top and are just firm to the touch, 12-17 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat as needed. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

20 comments to “Chocolate Nudges”

  1. I am usually too nervous to bake (I always forget an ingredient or forget I have cookies in the oven) but these see. Delicious and easy enough. Plus, the bf loves chocolate. May have to give them a go.

  2. I feel so incredibly lucky to live down the street from this beautiful shop (and supply them with their chicken livers!). I was having a particularly terrible day earlier this week and I went and bought five nudges just for myself. Instant day-changer.

  3. The name alone is enough to get these on my to-make list, but that flavor combo of pistachios, choc, rum, vanilla sounds like the best thing ever.

  4. What a thoughtful guy! We’re having (another) snow day today. I have all these ingredients so I think I’ll bake a batch of these before I have to run out and snowblow the driveway again.

  5. Cara- I saw your photo and was jealous! It seems like a great thing to have in the neighborhood.

  6. I totally hear you on chocolate – I’m the same way! Give me a lemon tart any day over a chocolate dessert. These look great, however, and I might do a little baking tonight since we’re staying in tomorrow and eating in – what we always do on Valentine’s Day. Hope you guys have a lovely one! xx

  7. Thanks, Olga! We also stay in for Valentine’s, I find it to be the most depressing night of the year at restaurants (followed closely by NYE?).

  8. these look perfect. one of my oldest friends is coming into town this weekend with her new (very serious!) boyfriend, and we are cooking them dinner for a day-after-Valentines, stay-home double-date.

    Valentines Day at restaurants can be fun, in our experience, if you go to the totally non-Valentines-y places. last year we went to a hole-in-the-wall to eat boiled crawfish. this year we have a hers & hers spa date in the afternoon and will probably get take-out from a favorite Thai place after…but overpriced menus from fancy-schmancy places? definitely agree that it’s the worst time to go, just like NYE: both are amateur nights!

  9. Hi Nishta- I agree that those sorts of restaurants are the way to go. In fact, this NYE we had dinner with friends at a decidedly not cool restaurant and it was wonderful. No special meals, and many elderly people. Totally my scene. Have a fun weekend!

  10. Julia Smith says:

    February 13th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    These look like the perfect end to this weird-weather-in-Chicago, taxes-to-do Thursday. Do you think the batter would keep if I refrigerate or freeze half? Would you freeze it as a log or in already formed balls? Thanks!

  11. I never venture to restaurants on Valentines but it surely doest matter if you can cook a batch of chocolate nudges, what more do you need?!

  12. Love the rustic, home-made look of these. Makes me immediately think they’re made with love and care.

    I don’t think there’s words to describe the value of a reliable cookbook. It’s great to look through page after page and know that whatever you choose, it will turn out wonderful.

  13. Hi Julia,
    I didn’t try freezing, so I am not sure. The biggest problem will be that if the balls are frozen (and if I were going to try I would try balls, not log) it won’t be easy to roll them in sugar. It might not stick. The baked cookies keep pretty well for 4-5 days. If you try storing the dough, let us know!

  14. Cute rustic little cookies (Nudges) can make your day. I’m sure any chopped nuts will go well. With a cup of coffee, cocoa or tea = Happy Valentine’s Day!

  15. Well. I made these cookies last night. I must say they are truely excellent. Light in texture, full of rich flavor, just the right amount of sweet. The pistachos and butter, maybe the rum too, really shine. Tim, Im such a huge fan of your blog. I hang onto every word. Just like this recipe, its full of quality! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Adam, that is so nice to hear. I’m really glad you enjoy the site, and are baking along. Keep in touch!

  17. I made these at the 11th Valentine’s hour and I’m so glad I made the effort. They were a resounding hit. Even better the next morning. Thank you for sharing!

  18. You ARE a sweet husband. Can’t wait to give these a try!

  19. Schneiderluvsdoof says:

    March 13th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Daw, sweet.

  20. What a wonderful recipe! We don’t have rum on hand outside of the summer months, but bourbon is always flowing in our home. I subbed in Maker’s Mark and the result was wonderful. I adore your site – thanks for sharing your stories and recipes.

What do you think?