Pistachio Shortbread

Pistachio Shortbread | Christmas Cookies | Gather and Graze

It gets a little crazy around here at Christmas time… our school year in Australia finishes up in the middle of December, so with Christmas following about a week later and all that that entails… along with plans and thoughts given to the long school break, one would hopefully be forgiven for being slightly absent from the blogosphere over the past couple of weeks.

It’s been a joy though to follow the holiday-time posts of my fellow bloggers and I can personally vouch for Fae’s Persian treat – ‘Sohan’e Qom (Saffron Cardamom Pistachio Brittle)’ along with Suzanne’s ‘Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies’ – these delicious morsels have been baked and will hopefully be resisted long enough to make it through to Christmas day itself! Oh and if I can find the time, Linda’s ‘Salame di Cioccolato’ is next on my list – it looks fantastic!

I’ve been eyeing off the following shortbread recipe (in ‘Ottolenghi, The Cookbook’) for a while now and felt that with it’s edging of crushed pistachios it would make a fabulous festive cookie. The photo in the cookbook is perhaps a little deceptive in showing the finished shortbreads encrusted in a beautiful, vibrant green. Reality reminded me today that nuts pretty much turn brown when baked for around 20 minutes, leaving any hint of festivity sadly behind. Oh well… what really matters most is that they’re buttery, short and totally delicious… and have been lovingly hand-made!

Now, on to the Gingerbread House!

Pistachio Shortbread

  • Servings: Makes about 20 Cookies
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 8 Cardamom Pods (or 1 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom)
  • 200g/¾ Cup + I Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 25g/3 Tablespoons Ground Rice
  • 240g/1⅔ Cup Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 35g/⅓ Cup Icing (Powdered) Sugar
  • 60g/⅓ Cup Shelled Pistachio Nuts
  • 1 Free-Range Egg (lightly beaten)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Sugar


If using the whole cardamom pods – crush the pods using a pestle and mortar, then remove the skins and grind the inner seeds to a fine powder.

Place the butter, ground rice, flour, salt, cardamom and icing sugar into an electric mixer and mix at quite a low speed until the mixture just comes together into a paste. Remove the dough from the machine and shape into a log (about 3-4cm in diameter), dusting with a little extra flour if need be. Wrap the log in cling film and place into the fridge to firm up for about 1-2 hours.

Chop up the pistachios fairly finely and scatter over a flat plate or tray, ready for when the dough comes out of the fridge.

Using a pastry brush, brush the log with the beaten egg and then roll it in the finely chopped pistachios. Wrap the log back up in cling film and refrigerate once again for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper.

Remove the log from the cling film and slice into 5mm-1cm rounds. Place on the baking tray, allowing about 2cm between each shortbread to allow for spreading. Dust the tops of the shortbread with a little vanilla sugar and place into the oven for about 20 mins until lightly golden.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, before serving with a fine cup of tea or coffee.

Pistachio Shortbread | Christmas Cookies | Gather and Graze

* Recipe from ‘Ottolenghi, The Cookbook’

Tip: Make up a double batch of this recipe and freeze half of the dough (shaped into a log, wrapped up in cling film and placed in a zip-loc bag) to bake when required… beautiful Pistachio Shortbread on hand, at a moment’s notice.


31 thoughts on “Pistachio Shortbread

  1. Fig & Quince

    Merry Christmas dearest Margot! I literally gasped with delight, by the way, looking and reading this recipe. xoxo and love, azita

  2. gotasté

    Merry Christmas Margot! I can never had enough of pistachios and shortbread. You’ve just introduced me to a perfect combination. Hope all is well and keep cooking 🙂 Best Wishes, Danny.

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      So lovely to see you here Danny! How are you??? Hope that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. Will we see you blogging again in 2015? I very much hope so! Cheers, Margot

      1. gotasté

        Thank you Margot. I am doing fine. We had a good Christmas with some friends who are here to visit. Hope you and your family had a great celebration too! Sadly, I’ve put all my focus at work in the past year but the good news is I’ve started cooking again whenever I can. Really looking forward to share with you soon 🙂 Best Wishes, Danny

  3. ChgoJohn

    Do these ever look good, Margot! Love the idea of combining the flavors of shortbread with pistachio. If I made them, I doubt that many would last much longer than the “pistachio roll” — if that long. I really do love shortbread. Now, don’t worry. I also love pistachios, so, none of them will go to waste. 😉

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so very much John! Pleased to know that you would enjoy sitting down to a couple of these little shortbreads… I actually made up a double batch of these, one with pistachios and one without (for a friend who has nut allergies) and they were lovely too. Wishing you Happy Holidays my friend and much good health for the New Year. 🙂

  4. Darya

    Anything containing pistachio and coming from Ottolenghi is bound to be delicious! And it’s a pity the picture doesn’t look like the actual final shortbread, but I guess what matters most is the taste! Happy holidays!

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      They really do taste delicious Darya… and that’s definitely the most important thing! No regrets for having made them, though I did have a little chuckle to myself when I looked back at the photo and then at the shortbread that I’d made! Wishing you relaxing and happy holidays too! 🙂

  5. Johnny / Kitschnflavours

    You’re not surely suggesting they may have fiddled with their photo staging!? Actually, that’s one of the reasons I prefer blogs, as it’s usually the case of, what you see is what you’ll get. Anyway, love the idea of these even without the pistachios. I’m literally just tucking into the last slice of the lemon, cranberry and white chocolate stuff (based on yours) I made again, this time with butter as I forgot to buy creamed coconut. Almost as good. Hoping you’ll have a stressless Christmas – is that going to be possible? Either way, enjoy it!

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      🙂 Ha! So naive of me to think that mine might turn out as beautiful… I think they actually might have sat and separated the most vibrant green parts of the pistachios, crushed them and stuck them on the edge just before the photo shoot… surely they wouldn’t have used food colouring – would they?? Anyway, common sense should have told me what the outcome would be… if only my brain hadn’t been dazzled by that beautiful festive colour!
      Almost all set for a stress-free Christmas… just the 4 of us this year, so no pressure at all! Hope you have a lovely Christmas too Johnny!

  6. milkandbun

    Even though the cookies are simple, but cardamom and pistachios make them very delicious and aromatic! Wonderful yummies! 🙂
    Have a great holiday season, Margot!

  7. apuginthekitchen

    Margot, wow!!!I love your shortbread and LOVE the top photo. So crisp and clear and those cookies are so beautiful. Perfect for the holidays. Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!!

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      So kind of you to say Suzanne… it was overcast and a little rainy outside, so I wasn’t sure if the photos would work at all or if I’d have to wait until the next day to get some better light. They almost have a kind of winter feel about them – like I’m up there in the Northern Hemisphere with you guys! 😉 Happy Holidays to you too Suzanne!

  8. lapetitepaniere

    The Pistachio Shortbread looks absolutely gorgeous, Margot, the picture is beautiful. I have the same tea pot (mine is black)…Thank you so much to include my recipe to the list. I hope you will have time to do it 🙂
    Happy Holidays, Margot xx

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thank you very much Linda! How lovely that our tea pots are twins – I’ll think of you now whenever I use it! 🙂 I’m hoping to fit in quite a lot of baking today… so after I’ve made the dough for our gingerbread house, my heart is set on making your beautiful ‘Salame di Cioccolato’… love how that sounds when you say it aloud! 🙂
      Happy Holidays to you and your family too my friend!

  9. trixpin

    Oooh, lovely! Have a merry Christmas (and I might be popping over to steal some of these. When I say “popping over” I mean taking a plane across the ocean. Yes, the biscuits look THAT GOOD!!!)

  10. Fae's Twist & Tango

    Margot, Darling, thank you very much! I am so happy that you made the sohan and liked it. I too love Suzanne’s cookies and Linda’a salame di cioccolato. Ooo… and then you followed it with your pistachio shortbread masterpiece, with very interesting ingredient combinations. Gorgeous photos, and of course, I have to mention the green tea pot… exquisite!
    Happy Holiday Season and Beautiful New Year 2015! ❤ Fae.

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Fae, there are so many delicious recipes out there right now, but it’s impossible to find the time to make all the dishes that I’d like to. When I saw your sohan though, I knew immediately that it was a MUST try recipe! It’s truly wonderful, not to mention incredibly moreish!
      Thanks so much for your ever generous comments… the little green tea pot is Japanese, though I found it in a tea shop in New Zealand many years ago. 🙂
      Wishing you and your family a lovely Holiday Season too Fae!


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