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Italian Pistachio Cookies

April 18, 2014

Before we get to cookies, let’s take a moment to consider ice cream. Love both and they often go hand-in-hand. My earliest ice cream loves were the little dixie cups with vanilla and chocolate sitting side-by-side. Also, Carvel’s soft vanilla and chocolate ice cream in a regular cone. Since then, several more choices have elbowed their way into my little book (make it a big book… it’s called My Big Book of Foods I Love). Coffee and Pistachio are way up there. Great coffee ice cream is relatively easy to find. Pistachio ice cream…. not so easy. Too sweet. Too artificial. Too green. But when I find a good one, I’m there (Saffron & Rose on Westwood Blvd. and Sweet Rose Creamery on 26th St.).

When Novio and I first saw our house over three years ago, we both just knew. For all kinds of reasons. And when I entered the bedroom, some might have seen a shade of muted green on the walls. Pistachio! This is what the walls softly murmured to me. I was sold. I, who lived with Navajo White for far too many years before I realized the magic of color, was in love.

My favorite Persian market sells one-pound plastic containers of shelled pistachio nutmeats. Very handy. It’s a bit labor-intensive to open all those little pistachios, you know.

These cookies are a find. Everyone in my family loves pistachios, and since I had two containers of said pistachios waiting in my freezer – thank you, Santa Monica Glatt – I got crackin’ (not literally). The aroma of the pistachios toasting in the oven is reason enough to give these simple cookies a try. I came across them at the end of Passover last year and have tucked away the recipe in my virtual pocket to share them with you this Passover. Not that they’re excellent any time of year. They are gluten-free (GF) and whenever a GF recipe doesn’t use flour (like spelt, rye, or oat), then they’re a good choice for Passover. They’re also dairy-free, if you want to know. What they are FULL of is flavor.

The pistachios are used ground into a meal in this simple batter, and roughly chopped to roll the cookie balls in.

chopping pistachiosWhy did I fall in love with this mini-processor? Hint: today’s recurring theme.

There are only four ingredients to this cookie batter. Ground pistachios, almond meal (which can be purchased ready-to-go), sugar and 2 egg whites. What more can we ask for?

four cookie dough ingredientsRoll the little balls in chopped pistachios.

rolling balls in nutsLine them up to bake. They don’t spread too much.

pistachio cookies to ovenIn no time, your cookies are done!

cool cookiescool cookies

pistachio cookiesEnjoy!

 Italian  Pistachio Cookies

thanks to Trissalicious (with only the sugar reduced)


3/4 c. (90 g.) PLUS another 3/4 c. (90 g.) raw pistachios, shelled
1 c. (120 g.) almond meal
scant 1/2 c. (100 g.) sugar
2 egg whites


Lightly toast the pistachios for around 5 minutes (or until just fragrant) in a preheated oven at 325ºF.

Chop the first 3/4 cup of pistachios finely (I use a mini-food processor for this). Be sure to stop before nuts start turning into a paste.

Chop the remaining 3/4 cup of pistachios roughly, using a knife.

Place the finely chopped 3/4  cup of pistachios, almond meal, sugar and egg whites in a medium bowl. Mix well  until you form a sticky batter.

Using two tablespoons, form batter into little balls, (at this point, if you find the batter too sticky add a little bit more almond meal to the paste) then roll them in the remaining 3/4 cup  of pistachios. about 3//4 inch (2 cm) in diameter or the size of large marbles.

Place then on a baking sheet, and bake for around  11-13 minutes at  350ºF .
Makes 18-22 cookies

Italian Pistachio Cookies



  1. Am crazy for pistachios too, and this looks like a winner! Happy Passover, Judy!

  2. hsimpsongrossman permalink

    Chag Sameach Judy!

    Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts as is the color!

    I have no pistachios at home but printed the recipe for next Pessach, though I might make them earlier than that for my friend’s gluten-free sweet son.


  3. Laurel Gord permalink

    This recipe showed up just on time. I always enjoy reading this blog because of the stories and the grace of your writing, but I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve tried one of the recipes. We were having a mid Passover Seder because that was when all four of the kids could come, and foster daughter Yvonne came over to do some Passover baking. We made almond macaroons and decided to try this recipe but shape it more like a French Macaron and we forewent rolling the shaped cookies in the chopped Pistachios. Apart from that we followed the recipe exactly. Yum, yum, yum. Really, really, delicious with a melt in the mouth texture. And so very easy to make. Next time maybe we’ll try them exactly as written. Thank you, Judy

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