Lebanese Pistachio Cookies with Orange Blossom Water are melt in your mouth fabulous shortbread-style cookies that are perfect year round for just about any occasion, and because they last well in a tin they do wonderfully at the holidays as well. Affiliate links have been used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
April showers bring May flowers! Right? Right!?!? All that rain and snow had better bring something! Something other than more rain that is. Anyway, Creative Cookie Exchange has got you covered, because we are going all floral with our cookies this month! Flower shapes, flower decorations, and flower flavors! We’ve got it all!
I found my cookies in a great new cookbook I have been excited to tell you about. So this post is a twofer! Phaidon sent me The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage for reviewing. Like most Phaidon cookbooks, it is an awe-inspiring tome, with 500 recipes; unlike many older Phaidon cookbooks, it also is filled with gorgeous color photographs of both Lebanon and the dishes featured in the book. The primary reason I went looking in it for a recipe for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange is because I knew rosewater and orange blossom water are both used in Middle Eastern desserts, so I was hoping to find some inspiration. Happily for me–and dare I say you?–I definitely was inspired!
I do need to make a note that I am not sure I recommend the book for beginning cooks/bakers. I can honestly say that I did not even realize there was a crucial step missing from my recipe, because I just proceeded as I assumed I should be (she never says what to do with the pistachios); I only noticed it now, as I was looking over the recipe for writing this post. I do not regret owning this book, and I do not think I would regret it even if I had paid for it (you guys know I love cookbooks more for inspiration than anything else), but honesty compels me to point this fact out.
This is a traditional Lebanese pistachio cookie made by non traditional means. It might suffer a little for it, but I am head over heels in love with these cookies so they cannot have suffered much! Anyway, Salma Hage calls for rubbing the butter into the dough by hand, as I do with traditional British scones for example. But given the sheer quantity of butter in the cookie (this is not diet food), I decided to use frozen butter in a food processor. If you do not have frozen butter, just place your butter in the freezer 30 minutes before beginning, to make sure it will stay cold. Likewise, the eggs should also be cold. I also chose to add some salt and sprinkle the cookie with coarse sugar–some cookies got French pearl sugar bits and some got colored coarse sugar.
I hope you check out everyone’s flower cookies down below! I really had fun with this theme and think it was a great way to get into summer!
Closely adapted from Salma Hage.
- 2 1/4 cups (285 g) AP flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup 80 g roasted, salted pistachios (she calls for raw but roasted and salted is what I always have on hand)
- 22 T (2 3/4 sticks, 11 oz, 300 g) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 T orange blossom water
- coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone or parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a food processor (16 cups sized bowl worked well for me, but it might have been ok in the 11 cup bowl--if you try leave a comment and let me know!). Pulse a few times to mix.
Add the pistachios and pulse a few times to begin to chop the nuts.
Add the well chilled butter. Pulse until it looks like bread crumbs.
Add the sugar and pulse to mix.
Whisk together the egg and orange blossom water in a small bowl.
With the processor running, add the beaten egg. Stop the processor as soon as it is evenly distributed. At this point, it will not come together as a dough, but instead will look like moist crumbs.
Clean and dry your counter. Lightly flour it. Dump the dough onto the counter, and, using your hands, gather it up and knead it a few times to form a cohesive dough (it will seem improbable but it will--and be certain not to overwork it--as soon as you have your cohesive dough, stop kneading).
Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured counter. Cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, aiming for a 2 1/2-3 inch diameter.
Place the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheets, 1-2 inches apart (I got 12 to a sheet). Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 2 sheets at a time--refrigerate the scraps until you can roll them out for a freed up cookie sheet. At the very end, after rolling out 36 cookies, I just patted out a large circle and baked it, because every time you roll out the dough the cookies will spread more.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the 2 cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the cookies are browning at the edges and turning a light golden brown.
The theme this month is May Flowers! All that snow and rain has to lead to something, right!? Creative Cookie Exchange has decided to stop using the linky. What this means is that the only way to join in the fun is to become a host. Just contact me at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and I will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Orange Blossom Honey Madeleines from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Flower Cookies from A Baker’s House
- Rose-Lemon Meltaways from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Lebanese Orange Blossom Water and Pistachio Cookies from The Spiced Life
- Lemon Persian Rose Shortbread from Noshing with the Nolands
- Lavender Poppy Seed Shortbread from Magnolia Days
- Hibiscus Sugar Cookies from Food Lust People Love
Disclosures: I was sent a free copy of The Lebanese Kitchen to review; I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own. Also, affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items I would be discussing and linking to anyway.
I’m a recent convert to floral desserts and I’m thinking how great these would be with a touch of rosewater! Eating them would convince me I was in a garden surrounded by fresh spring beauty!
Glad you were able to work out the recipe and share it with us. My husband loves pistachios and so I’ll add this to my cookies-to-bake for him list.
Pecans have always been my go-to nuts but now that I am living in the Middle East, I find myself gravitating more and more to pistachios. They add such a lovely little pop of green!
What a cheerful flower cookie with depth of flavor too– this isn’t a ho-hum cookie– I would love to try the pistachio taste.
You cookies are shaped like a flower and have flower water in them, perfect for todays theme, love it!!
Laura @MotherWouldKnow says
I adore pistachios. Add a ton of butter and you can’t go wrong!
Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories says
Your cookies are darling! Beautiful photos as always! So did you have to make them twice? Love the frozen butter tip.
Thanks! You lost me though–why would I have made them twice? 🙂
pistachios belong in so many more things than they are–they’re my favorite nuts. these cookies sound great.
Oussama Shehab says
Never knew there was Lebanese cookies 🙂
Felice/All That's Left Are The Crumbs says
I agree these perfectly fit the theme for the Creative Cookie Exchange – I would expect no less from our fearless leader ;). I am going to have to go on a search for orange blossom water, or I may have to just substitute rosewater since I know I have a big bottle of that just begging to be used. After seeing your beautiful cookies I am just itching to get baking and make them.
I’m half Syrian (well, third generation), so I’d love to experiment with this recipe. They look so cute, too!
wow! you are always making something interesting and delicious! 😉
Miranda @ Cookie Dough & Oven Mitt says
Oh yum! I’m intrigued by the pistachio and orange blossom water combination. I’m also very anxious for April showers!
Joanie @ ZagLeft says
I really enjoy your posts. You’ve introduced me to quite a few recipes that were completely unknown to me. These cookies are so pretty and I can imagine the orange blossom/pistachio combination is perfect.
pam (Sidewalk Shoes) says
I am always looking for creative cookies like this!
What a great use for orange blossom water!
Laura these May flower themed cookies turned out so pretty (and held their shape beautifully). Like all the pistachios used in it (and yes, raw pistachios would be more difficult to find…I bet the salty roasted was fantastic!).
These look super delicious and I love the flower shape! I need to go hunt down some orange blossom water 🙂
With orange blossom water and pistachios you can’t go wrong. Lovely photos!
Florian @ContentednessCooking says
pistachios and orange blossom, yes please!
heather @french press says
flowers and cookies always make me happy 🙂 and with that much butter, how can they NOT be delicious
I absolutely love pistachios and anything with it. Will make these cookies this weekend!
Olivia @ livforcake says
These cookies are adorable. I love the shape and the unique flavours.
I am not sure if I made a mistake, but these cookies were just far far too sweet.
Sounded so promising, I was going to make double, but didn´t, glad I did not as half of it went to the bin.
Sounds like a mistake was probably made, because these cookies have far less sugar than, for example, Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies (1 cup per 2.25 cups of flour versus 1.5 cups of sugar per 2.25 cups of flour), although it is always possible we just have different tastes! I am happy to trouble shoot with you if you want to let me know more specifically how you made the cookies (how you measured the flour, for example).
My batter came out very sticky and was unrollable by a pin, so I rolled them into balls like chocolate chip cookies. They baked but had burnt edges and didn’t look nice. Any advice on how I can improve my batter?
Ack I am so sorry to hear that! Well, first I would want to know how you measured your ingredients and did you follow the recipe exactly. If you weighed the ingredients and feel confident you followed everything exactly, I would wonder if weather played a roll. Like maybe it was dry when I made them and exceptionally humid when you made them? As far as the burnt edges, that probably came from baking them as balls, so they spread with thinner edges that baked faster than the thicker middles. Next time I would add a little more flour or powdered sugar (maybe alternate tablespoons of each) until you have a dough you can work with. The dough should definitely not be super sticky.