I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I love the idea of taking a day to celebrate love, but not necessarily in the literal sense. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a huge fan of the color red (despite the fact that I am a fire sign), but to me what makes something romantic is the personal sentiment behind it. So let me explain why I think pistachios are romantic.
I’ve not always loved the taste of pistachio. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in my parents’ homeland of Jordan, where black mint tea in glass cups and salted pistachios in small wooden bowls made the rounds after lunch and dinner. I’d always take a pass until I was a teenager. It was back in Jordan that I came around to the taste of pistachio when the combination of two scoops of gelato broke me – pistachio and ashta, the latter a milky, rose water flavored Lebanese delight. It was heaven in my mouth, angels singing and all.
My encounters with pistachio or rose water flavored desserts have since been few and far between until our honeymoon in Paris a couple years ago. After the most glorious nap of my life on the day we arrived to the city, I was on a mission to find pistachio macaroons, and to my delight they weren’t at all hard to find. A small pâtisserie a few blocks from our hotel in Saint-Germain-des-Prés was always fully stocked, so I frequently re-visited their establishment (oh, and others) to indulge my passion for pistachio. I ate 13 of those incredible macaroons that week!
I’ve since associated the sweet and nutty taste of pistachio with the first week with my honey as a married woman on our honeymoon. As an ode to love, I couldn’t help but share this Pistachio Rose Water Tea Cookie recipe. Like the macaroons, these cookies are gluten-free.
If you’ve never had rose water before, don’t worry – if you use only a small amount, your food won’t taste like a blooming dozen. What’ll you’ll hopefully experience is that the rose water really opens up the taste of the pistachios. You can find a bottle for less than five dollars (cheaper than a dozen roses!) at Whole Foods or at a gourmet or Middle Eastern super market. Amazon carries some, too.
For 12 Pistachio Rose Water Tea Cookies, you will need:
- Pistachios: 2 cups. Try to get them shelled already or you’ll have some pretty tender fingers opening each one up.
- Rose water: 2 tsp for a light flavor, 3 tsp for a more distinct flavor.
- Egg yolks: Four of them, whisked together.
- Butter: 1/4 of a cup. Set on the counter for a few minutes to let it warm up just a bit.
- Granulated sugar: 1/2 of a cup, or any sugar substitute you prefer.
- Baking powder: 1 tsp.
- Powdered sugar: About 2 tsp.
This is how you do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top.
- In a Vitamix or blender, pulse the pistachio until it becomes very fine, almost like flour (as seen below, left).
- Place your pistachio flour in a medium sized bowl and add the granulated sugar and the baking powder to the mixture. Mix together.
4. Next, add the rose water to the egg yolk and mix together. Pour the mixture into the medium bowl with the pistachio flour, granulated sugar and baking powder. Mix together well.
5. Now time for the fun part. With your hands or with a stand mixer, add the butter to the mixture and begin to mash together. The mixture will be very sticky (which is why I prefer to use my hands as they are easier to clean than a stand mixer). Once the butter is well in there, you can take a wooden spoon and begin to stir up the mixture until evenly distributed.
6.) With two spoons or with your hands, make 1-inch ‘dough’ balls with the mixture and place evenly apart on the parchment paper, sprinkling with the powdered sugar (pictured above). The mixture should make 12 balls, and when you’re ready, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes (or in the fridge for 30 minutes).
7.) Next, put your cookies into the oven for about 10 minutes, no more than 12 minutes. The cookies should still look a little soft.
8.) Take your cookies out of the oven and remove the parchment paper with the cookies on top of it, placing it on a cooling rack. After about five minutes, you can remove your cookies from the rack and put them on a tray to serve, garnished with more powdered sugar and whole pistachios, if you please!
For me, it’s hard to not dream of being in a café on the coast of the Mediterranean enjoying one of these. But they will be just as lovely enjoyed in bed with the one you love on Valentine’s Day morning! Enjoy, bon appétit and sahtain!
Recipe adapted with love from Marocmama.