Milk Pistachio Cookies

Nik Sharma

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Cookies and tea are a big part of the daily Indian ritual. At least it was for me growing up. At my parent’s home in India, stored inside an old large Nescafe tin were cookies of all sorts and shapes. Some were filled with raspberry jam, butter cookies, shortbread, and more. One of my favorites was these pistachio cookies that were made with milk that I’d dunk into a cup of hot tea and eat in one shot. This recipe is my version of that delightful childhood cookie. Everything about them is just right, the perfect degree of nuttiness, the perfect soft and crispy textural balance, and the mild hint of sweetness.

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Milk Pistachio Cookies

These delightful cookies are perfect with hot tea or coffee. In India, pistachios and milk are a common combination in many desserts like pedas (a type of milk fudge), and to play off that theme, I’ve created these cookies that use milk powder and bright green pistachios. The cookies aren’t entirely soft; they’re crisp on the edges and tender in the center; combined with the texture of the baked pistachios, it feels much nicer on the palette.

  • Yield: 30 cookies

Ingredients

4 oz/110 g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

¾ cup/150 g sugar

1 large egg, chilled

½ tsp pistachio extract or almond extract

2 cups/280 g all-purpose flour

¼ cup/20 g non-fat dry milk powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp kosher sea salt

½ cup/60 g unsalted pistachios, coarsely crushed (See notes on blanching)

Instructions

  1. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed for about 4 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula. Then add the egg and continue to mix for about 1 minute, until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add the pistachio extract and mix for 10 seconds. The mixture will be light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  2. In a mixing bowl, dry the flour, milk powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of this mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix on medium-low speed until almost combined. Then add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined. Remove the dough and transfer the dough onto a cool surface, such as a marble pastry board, a non-stick silicone pastry work surface, or parchment paper. Flatten the dough with your hands and place the pistachios in the center. Fold the dough gently to combine the pistachios.
  3. Take a sheet of 12 in by 16 in/30.5 cm by 40.5 cm parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log about 12 in/30.5 cm long. Wrap the roll with parchment paper starting from one end by using the paper. Wrap the roll with clingfilm, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  4. To bake, place two wire racks at the mid-level in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  5. Remove the cookie dough roll from the refrigerator, and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into about 3/8 in/1 cm thick individual cookies. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place ten cookies on a lined baking sheet, each about 1 in/2.5 cm apart. The cookies won’t spread too much during baking. Bake two sheets of cookies at a time for 10 minutes, swap the sheets halfway through during cooking and rotate the sheets by 180 degrees to let them bake evenly. The cookies should be lightly golden brown on the edges when done. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will be slightly soft when hot but will firm up on cooling. Cool the cookies to room temperature completely before storing them in an airtight container and store for up to 1 week.

Notes

  • Blanching Pistachios: Should you skin the pistachios? That is entirely up to you. I like them either way in these cookies but some people find them bitter or slightly astringent. If you do decide to proceed with removing the skins. Soak the pistachios for about 5 minutes in enough boiling hot water to cover them and let them sit on the kitchen counter. After 5 minutes, the outer pinkish skin will turn soft and will easily slough off when rubbed. I use my fingers to clean the skin. Leave the cleaned pistachios on a dry absorbent towel to get rid of any excess water.
  • Crush pistachios using a rolling pin in a small ziplock bag, less mess and it’s easy.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t find a good pistachio extract, almond extract works in a pinch. I use the pistachio extract by LorAnn.
  • I sometimes dip these cookies after they’re cooled in melted white chocolate to give them an extra festive appearance. To do this melt 3/4 cup/115 g white chocolate in the microwave or over a small water bath. Dip half the cookie into the chocolate, tap gently to get rid of excess chocolate, place on a wire rack, and leave to rest until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes. 

13 Responses

  1. Nik, these cookies!!!! I love the idea of milk powder in baked goods; do you own the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook? Christina Tosi, the head pastry chef at Milk Bar, uses a lot of milk powder in her desserts.

    PS – stunning photos AS USUAL; at this point, I feel like it goes without saying. Your pictures get more and more gorgeous with each post!

    PPS – thanks for the link love!

  2. i have been so intrigued by these since you posted preview photos! i thought i spotted some pistachios 🙂 i love that these are slice and bake, my favorite!!!

  3. Oh my gosh, these sound so dreamy. I love LOVE that you used milk powder in them — I can just imagine the lovely flavor that adds! And YAY for your Common Table interview!!! I loved reading it!!!

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