Buttery slice-and-bake pistachio shortbread are simple, classic cookies dressed up with dried rose petals.
Lightly sweet and deliciously buttery, these pretty pistachio shortbread cookies are flecked with dried rose petals and a delicate touch of rosewater.
The cookies have that distinctive sandy, crunchy texture and a really nice way of just melting in your mouth.
And bonus — this is a slice-and-bake cookie dough that keeps well for days in the fridge and longer than that in the freezer.
Make the dough and bake a batch whenever you want!
Basic shortbread dough is a perfect base for adding other flavors.
This combination of pistachios and roses conjures up romantic pictures in my mind of another place – in fact I’ve been haunted by the idea of this Persian Love Cake recipe for that very reason.
These pistachio shortbread look very fetching with dried rose petals, which are available at some stores like Whole Foods (and also of course on Amazon).
But if you don’t have rose petals don’t let that stop you from making these cookies.
The petals themselves don’t have a strong rose flavor, but the rosewater does add a hint of musky perfume to the dough.
The same amount of orange flower water or pure vanilla extract would be equally delicious.
Tips for making pistachio shortbread:
- Shortbread cookies are basically the best excuse to eat butter (along with some sugar and flour). So the number one tip is: use good butter when you make shortbread dough. Maybe splurge on the fancy, higher-fat European style butters in your market or an organic cultured butter.
- Make tight and compact logs for easier slicing — roll the wrapped dough firmly against your work surface.
- Slice the dough when it’s very cold and use the sharpest knife in your drawer.
- If the dough crumbles in places as you slice it into cookies, just press and patch them together on the baking sheet.
- Definitely use a nonstick Silpat or parchment paper to line your baking sheet. I love the convenience of this pre-cut parchment.
- To store the dough in the freezer, double wrap the logs in plastic and then put those in a heavy-duty plastic bag to prevent ice crystals from forming.
Rose Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Yield about 2 dozen
These pretty pistachio shortbread cookies are lightly sweet and deliciously buttery, with a distinctive sandy texture that melts in your mouth.
The dough will keep up to a week in the refrigerator and frozen 1 month.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks), cut into tablespoons
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried edible rose petals, crushed (optional)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl.
- In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter 1 minute on medium speed. Add the sugar and rose water and continue beating on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and satiny, like thick mayonnaise (this can take 5 minutes or more depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
- Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then add the flour mixture on low speed until it's incorporated. Stir in the pistachios and 1 tablespoon of the rose petals (if using). The dough will be crumbly and not quite hold together - that's okay.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and gently squeeze and push the dough together to form a ball. Divide the dough in half and roll into firm logs about 6 inches long. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the racks arranged in thirds. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Brush the logs with the egg white. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons pistachios and 1 tablespoon rose petals on a large plate or shallow pan. Roll the logs in the mixture to coat.
- With a thin, sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick cookies (not any thinner or the cookies won't hold their shape) and arrange on the baking sheets.
- Bake 12 - 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the edges begin to turn light golden. The cookies will be soft, but will firm as they cool.
- Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Inspired by a recipe in How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!