These chewy, crisp-edged cookies are lightly sweetened and packed with pistachio flavour. Not only do they bake up festively green for the holiday season, they're also gluten-free, dairy-free and calorie-free (okay, there are a couple of calories), which makes them perfect for sharing.
Tips: These cookies are only slightly sweet; if you prefer yours a little sweeter simply roll the cookie balls in coarse sugar before baking to add a sweet crunch to each one. They're also delicious when generously drizzled with melted chocolate.
Stephanie Eddy, who writes about her baking exploits at clockworklemon.com, lives in Calgary.
Servings: Makes approximately 18 cookies
Ready time: 30 minutes
1 1/3 cups (185 g) peeled, unsalted pistachios
1/3 cup (35 g) almond meal
1/2 cup (105 g) sugar
1/3 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Add one cup of pistachios to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until there are no pieces left bigger than a pea. Add the almond meal, sugar and salt, and pulse until the mixture is almost uniformly ground, with some slightly larger pieces of pistachios throughout.
Roughly chop the remaining 1/3 cup of pistachios into pea-sized pieces either in the food processor or by hand.
Beat the egg whites on high for two minutes until they become foamy. Fold in the vanilla and lemon zest. Next, fold in ground nut mixture and chopped pistachios into the egg whites. Keep folding until the mixture is completely and evenly coated. The dough will be thick and sticky.
Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out mounded tablespoons of the dough and roll each one into a ball. You can use wet hands to prevent the dough from sticking to your palms. Place the balls on the parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet a few inches apart and press to gently flatten them. Bake at 350 F for 9 to 13 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies are just starting to turn a light golden brown.
The cookies will be very soft when you remove them from the oven. Either allow them to cool on the tray until firm enough to move to a cooling rack, or slide the entire sheet of parchment paper with the cookies off the tray and onto the cooling rack. For the best texture, allow the cookies to cool completely before serving.