Raspberry Pistachio Thumbprints


My apologies if this post seems a little rushed – I need to pack up a few boxes, go vote, and hit the post office before it closes at five. It is currently 3:30. Could I have prevented this little conundrum with better planning? Absolutely. But this is not Eighth Street Everything Goes According To Plan, so…

But you’re here for the cookies.

In a glorious, grown-up ode to peanut butter and jelly, these thumbprints hit just the right balance between rich, nutty pistachios and sweet, slightly sharp raspberries. There’s a hint of ground cardamom and honey to bump up the complexity, and just enough rubbly pistachio chunks to keep things interesting.

I’m not sure the flavors scream holiday to me, but this is a fun twist on a classic – and a cookie I would be thrilled to find tucked into my lunch. It’s the perfect little bit of something to end a meal with – crunchy and sweet, but not so sweet you’re left desperate for something to drink.

Though, come to think of it, a glass of milk would be pretty nice.

Raspberry Pistachio Thumbprints

Yield: 36 cookies Time: about an hour, excluding chilling Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 325 grams all-purpose flour, divided
  • 89 grams pistachios, toasted
  • 2 grams (3/4 teaspoon) ground cardamom
  • 3 grams (3/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 112 grams granulated sugar
  • 225 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract
  • 1 ea egg yolk
  • 83 grams honey
  • 43 grams pistachios, toasted and chopped, for rolling
  • 1/2 cup black raspberry preserves, or other jam of your choosing, thinned slightly with water.

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the pistachios and 70 grams of the flour until the nuts are very finely ground – there should be almost no visible chunks remaining, and the flour should start to take on a greenish tinge. Set aside

Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer on medium speed until the mixture is very smooth. The butter/sugar mixture should have lightened in color by at least one shade, and the sugar crystals should be barely perceptible on your tongue. Scrape down the bowl, then add the egg yolk, vanilla, and honey, and beat until combined, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Meanwhile, get your dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cardamom, salt, and nut mixture. Set aside.

Once your egg yolks and honey are fully incorporated, scrape down your bowl and add in one half of your dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until fully incorporated, then add the other half of the dry. Keep mixing until no dry flour remains, then turn the dough out and knead a few times to incorporate any dry flour that might remain in the bottom of the bowl.

Divide your dough in half.

Take one half of the dough and shape it into a rough log shape on the bottom half of a long sheet of waxed paper. Fold the bottom of the paper up and over the dough, so the dough is cradled in the fold. Now, take a bench scraper or some other flat stiff piece of metal (a rimless cookie sheet or metal ruler would work great here, and place it on top of both sheets of wax paper, right at the edge of the dough. Now, holding the bench scraper firmly in place, pull on only the bottom sheet of wax paper, so that the fold tightens around the dough. Continue this process until the dough forms a nice tight cylinder, about 9 inches long. Twist the ends of the waxed paper to seal.

Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Place both dough logs into the refrigerator and chill until completely firm, about two hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C).

Unwrap your dough and slice each log into 18 even pieces. To form the cookies, take a slice of dough and roll it into a ball. Dip one half of the ball in the chopped pistachios and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the cookies about two inches apart.

Bake the cookies until they are just starting to brown around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Then, remove the cookies from the oven and make a divot in the center – I’ve found the best way to do this is to press a half-teaspoon measure with a round bottom into the dough balls, using the handle end of a wooden spoon to apply pressure. You’ll probably want to gently repair any cracks that look like they will cause jam to spill out. Once all your cookies are pressed, return them to the oven until they are evenly golden brown, another 5-8 minutes.

Once the cookies come out of the oven, I like to give them one last press to make sure the “thumbprints” are nice and deep, but this is totally optional. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling with the jam. I find a piping bag works best for this, but if you don’t have one, a ziplock with the corner cut out works just as well. If you aren’t fussed with the centers being perfectly smooth, just scoop your jam in with a spoon.

If you want to make these ahead, the uncooked dough logs will keep in the freezer for up to one month – just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. You can bake the cookies up to three days in advance – but don’t fill them until the day before or they will get soggy.

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By Jessi Spell

Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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