pistachio pinwheels

Can you believe we’ve already made it to our 45th bake from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person? It feels like we just started this little project of ours, and yet somehow we are almost halfway through the book. The Bars & Cookies chapter continues to be filled with delicious little treats; this week’s cookies were the Pistachio Pinwheels.

Lauren’s Take

Hello all! Can I just say how much I’m loving this Bars & Cookies chapter? Although a part of me does miss the tedious, time management focused bakes of the past (and the future), there truly is something to be said about being able to bake something in the moment, no real planning needed.

These Pistachio Pinwheels definitely fit the bill! The only snag this time was finding blanched, shelled pistachios that were green enough to make a pronounced swirl in the cookie. I made the mistake of sending my boyfriend to find them when he went grocery shopping, and he returned with a huge bag of un-blanched, un-shelled pistachios (A for effort Ben!). I was able to find them at my local bulk barn though!

Once you have all the ingredients, putting this cookie together is fairly simple. You are essentially making two doughs; one with ground pistachio and one without. The first dough is made by combining flour, almond flour, butter, powdered sugar, egg yolks, and almond extract in the food processor. You then roll it out into a 12×8 rectangle and let it chill. The second dough uses the same base as the first, but you add ground pistachio to it to make it green and leave it at room temperature.

Once the first dough is chilled, you spread the second dough all across the base dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border along the outside. The dough is then rolled up into a log and chilled for about an hour. Once firm, you remove the log from the fridge, roll it in Demerara sugar (I used my trusty dark brown again), and then cut them into 32 equal pieces!

 

Cutting the log was a very satisfying part as it exposed the really cool, bright green swirl within each cookie. The cookies are baked for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the outside. This time, I trusted my nose when they were done and not the timer! And it worked! I definitely did not over or under bake these.

 

Aesthetically, this is such a beautiful cookie and will be perfect for the holidays. They are not overly sweet and have that essential buttery texture that you want in a shortbread cookie. Initially, you don’t get hit with the pistachio flavour right away, but it leaves a perfect after taste in your mouth. Really good cookie…nothing spectacular that leaves you wanting to eat one after another, but pretty delicious all the same. 3.5 stars from me!

Julia’s Take

Welcome back to another Sunday baking post! The Pistachio Pinwheels were one of the first recipes from the book that I learned about because Claire put out a YouTube video with NYT Cooking around the holidays last year, shortly after the book was published and right before I got it for Christmas. Watching her make these pretty little cookies made me even more excited to snag my copy and get baking myself!

The process was fun and simple once again this week. Everything is combined in a food processer, which I love—the less bowls to clean up, the better if you ask me! There are two different doughs created for this cookie, one that is primarily almond and the other that brings the pistachio flavour and colour. The base of each is your typical shortbread cookie: flour, butter, powdered sugar, and egg yolks. You then take about two thirds of this shortbread base and add almond flour and almond extract to it, roll it out into a rectangle between two pieces of parchment paper, and then let it chill and firm up in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

While the almond dough chills, the ground pistachios are added to the rest of the base dough. I was able to find shelled pistachios, but they were not blanched so I was worried my spiral wouldn’t come out as green as it needed to be. I decided to add some green food colouring to the pistachio dough and this worked out really well!

Once the pistachio dough comes together, it is spread over the chilled rectangle and everything is rolled up into a log. For some reason, the almond dough started to warm up really quickly and got super soft as I was starting to roll. I think it probably could have stayed in the fridge another 10 minutes at least. Even though I wasn’t able to get as tight a roll as I wanted, the log still formed just fine, and then sat in the fridge for an hour to firm up again.

The best part of this recipe by far was slicing the cookies! Once the log is removed from the fridge, it is rolled in our good ol’ trusty Demerara sugar (has there been a single recipe in this book that HASN’T called for Demerara sugar??), and then sliced evenly. Based on how horribly my roll seemed to go, I did not think I would get tight spirals, but I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw those pretty green swirls in the centre of each cookie!

The cookies bake for 15-20 minutes—my first batch stayed in for 16 minutes and they were just a touch dark, so I kept the rest in for 14 and they were must better. I would say I found them a little more almond-forward than pistachio flavoured, but still nutty and delicious. The overbaked ones definitely came out a little dry, but overall you get that wonderfully soft shortbread texture that you want from a cookie like this. Maybe if we hadn’t just made the palmiers and the brownies, which were so unreal, I’d rate these slightly higher, but it would have to be a 3.5 star bake from me. These cookies are going to be perfect for Christmas!

Coming up next week: Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies!