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Amazing Italian Pistachio Cookies

Oh man, these took me back! Way back to my childhood when we would visit relatives and there would always be a plate of Italian cookies out to eat. You may not know, given my pale complexion and blue eyes, but I’m actually half Italian. Hence, we visited a lot of Italian relatives that had said cookies. Italian cookies tend to be on the less sweet side. They also often have some kind of nuts in them (think amaretti) along with lemon. I can’t remember having these Italian Pistachio Cookies per say, but they have all the makings of a delicious Italian cookie.Italian Pistachio Cookies

I was inspired to make these after I had one from Forno Cultura on King Street. I’m working on a blog post for my day job and had to try cookies from there for the post. I heard they were good, but I didn’t expect the onslaught of zesty lemon and pistachio flavour, along with a huge dose of nostalgia. The texture was perfect – the ground nuts offered the slightest crunch to this chewy delight. As soon as I finished the cookie, I wanted another. Never one to deny myself a treat, I decided I HAD to try and recreate these cookies on the weekend.Italian Pistachio Cookies

Given that I had similar cookies growing up, and that I’ve gone to school for baking, I had a pretty good idea what would go in them. I just wanted a guide as a starting point for my recipe. As always, I turned to Pinterest and was able to find a recipe in a few minutes. I adapted this recipe, making a few minor changes. I was so happy with the results that I ate all 2 dozen cookies in two days. They’re that good! They’re also super easy to make, so you can whip up a batch in no time!

Print Recipe
Amazing Italian Pistachio Cookies
Easy recipe for Italian Pistachio Cookies just like Nona used to make! The pistachio/lemon combo is so delicious and as a bonus, they're gluten free! Recipe adapted from Scarpetta Dolcetto.
Italian Pistachio Cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine Desserts, Italian
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine Desserts, Italian
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Italian Pistachio Cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a food processor (or magic bullet like I used), pulse the pistachios with half the granulated sugar until the pistachios are coarsely ground, but not too fine.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and add remaining sugar, almond flour, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the egg white and honey and mix until the mixture will hold its shape when pressed together.
  5. Prepare your baking tray and line it with parchment.
  6. Take your icing sugar and sift it into a medium bowl.
  7. Take a small bit of the cookie "dough" and roll it into a ball and then drop it into the icing sugar bowl, coat it in icing sugar and place on your baking tray.
    Italian Pistachio Cookies
  8. Place balls on baking tray about 2 inches apart. Repeat until you have about 2 dozen balls.
    Italian Pistachio Cookies
  9. In order to flatten the cookies, I took a cup that was the diameter that I wanted the cookies to be, and I used that to flatten them. That way, when the cookie was the same size as the bottom of the cup, I knew I could stop pressing the dough down. Also, make sure to wipe off any excess icing sugar that gets on the bottom of the cup because it can make dents in your cookies.
    Italian Pistachio Cookies
  10. Once all the cookies have been flattened, bake them for about 15-18 minutes or until they are a light golden brown on the bottom.
    Italian Pistachio Cookies
  11. Allow to cool before devouring.
Recipe Notes

*The recipe I based mine off of used unsalted raw pistachios, but I used salted and still loved the result

**If you're a baller and want to go all out and spend the money to use only pistachios, feel free!

I was SO happy with how my Italian Pistachio cookies came out. They’re the perfect chewiness that you want from a cookie. Pistachio is also one of my favourite flavours so I was in heaven while eating these. The lemon complements the pistachios surprisingly well, and gives the cookies a ton of zesty flavour.Italian Pistachio Cookies Italian Pistachio Cookies Italian Pistachio CookiesItalian Pistachio Cookies Italian Pistachio Cookies

I enjoyed the cookies with some pistachio liquor that I brought back from Italy, but they would also be amazing with tea or coffee.Italian Pistachio Cookies Italian Pistachio Cookies Italian Pistachio Cookies

I’m already thinking of different nuts that I can use to make these cookies again. I think next time, I’m going to do hazelnuts and put in cocoa powder instead of lemon – they’ll be Nutella flavoured!

If you grew up eating Italian cookies as well, I’d love to hear about it.

Also, let me know if you’d try making these Italian Pistachio Cookies for yourself!

 

xo, tess.

 



13 responses to “Amazing Italian Pistachio Cookies”

  1. Kara says:

    Omg I cannot wait to try these when I get home!!! These look incredible and something that I would absolutely love! Thanks for the recipe

  2. Sue says:

    How do you use the flour?

    • Tess says:

      Hi Sue, the almond flour is part of the base of the cookie – it’s used in place of regular flour in traditional cookies. Almond flour is also used for these pistachio cookies as a more economical alternative to using all pistachios. Hope that helps!

      • Christine says:

        ****you don’t include the flour addition in the actual recipe 🙁
        I nearly just had a disaster…

        • Tess says:

          Hi Christine,

          I’m slightly confused by what you mean by “flour addition”? Hoping you can clarify so I can help 🙂 There is only almond flour and ground pistachios in this recipe. No all purpose flour.

  3. Tiffany Andersen says:

    So there’s NO fat, butter, etc? And they still hold together? I see the beautiful pictures, which makes me want to make these, but I want to make sure the recipe is correct and didn’t forget the fat or other binder?

    • Tess says:

      Hi Tiffany! That’s right, there is no added butter or other fat to these cookies. The egg whites in the recipe serve as a binder for the dough. It won’t be as smooth as typical cookie dough because it’s mainly nuts, but they do hold together well! Would love to know what you think if you make them 🙂

  4. Marlene Iser says:

    Question? Do you refer to icing sugar as the same as confectioner sugar? it looks like it, or sanding sugar? I’s like to make these for Passover since the have no leavening. Thanks, Marlene

    • Tess says:

      Hi Marlene! Yes, icing sugar is the same as confectioners sugar. Thanks for reading! Hope you like them 🙂

  5. Evy says:

    These are my new favorite cookie. Anyone I’ve made these for loves them.

  6. joie says:

    These are great! Loved the addition of lemon zest– others I’ve seen didn’t include but really “makes” the cookie. Had been looking for a recipe like this after trying some at Spinelli’s Bakery in Boston. These are ALMOST as good (but since I’m not Italian maybe I don’t have the perfect touch) 🙂
    I did make my second batch without flattening them, just pressing a thumbprint on top. That seems to keep more of the chewiness intact, though it isn’t quite as pretty. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Tess says:

      Thank you so much, Joie! The lemon definitely makes the cookie – it goes so well with Pistachio! Glad you liked them 🙂

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