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Pistachio Orange Blossom Winter Cookies

Pistachio Orange Blossom Winter Cookies

During F&W Cookie Week, some of our favorite digital contributors are sharing their best holiday cookie recipes in a virtual swap. Post your favorite baking experiments on Instagram using #FWCookie. Here, snowy beauties from Three Little Halves.

It was at midnight in Plaza Virgen de Los Reyes in Seville when I first experienced the scent of orange blossoms. I was on my honeymoon, how appropriate. I am not sure if it was the magic of the hour, or the honeymoon effect, or the scent itself, but that moment stayed with me forever.

Seville is to be blamed for my habit of keeping a tiny bottle of orange blossom water in the fridge and sniffing it every once in a while at midnight when the house is asleep. And Seville is to be blamed for these cookies, for it is the scent of orange blossoms and the aroma of citrus that, for me, bring about the magic of the holidays, happiness and warmth. During December we bake tons of them, dust them in vanilla scented powdered sugar and celebrate the season.

They say that orange blossoms bring good fortune. How appropriate!

Pistachio Orange Blossom Winter Cookies

Note: Keep the cookies in an airtight container for at least one day before serving.

5 oz pistachios, ground into fine meal
6 oz butter
4 oz granulated sugar
12 oz all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoons finely-grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons orange blossom water
12 oz firm orange marmalade (I use Smucker’s Sweet Orange Marmelade)
1 vanilla bean, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
About 6 oz confectioners sugar, for dusting

1. A couple of days before making the cookies mix the confectioners sugar with the vanilla bean. Store the sugar in a dry place, in a jar with a tight lid.

2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and orange blossom water. Add the flour and pistachios and mix until a uniform dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 325°F convection bake (350°F regular bake). Place the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and roll it out to quarter inch thick round. Using a small round cookie cutter (mine is 1 1/4 inch) stamp out the cookies and arrange them on the baking sheets one inch apart. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven before the edges start to turn golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Once the cookies have cooled, take a cookie round at a time, spread the marmelade on it and top with another cookie round.

5. Pour the vanilla sugar into a small bowl. Roll each cookie-sandwich in the vanilla sugar until it is generously coated. Keep the cookies in an airtight container for at least one day before serving.

Makes about 50 cookies

Related: Lemon Fire Brigade's Chocolate Peppermint Slice-and-Bakes
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Cookie Swap

Macadamia, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

During F&W Cookie Week, some of our favorite digital contributors are sharing their best holiday cookie recipes in a virtual swap. Post your favorite baking experiments on Instagram using #FWCookie.

Here, Australian photographer and stylist Chantelle Grady offers one of her favorite holiday recipes, featuring macadamia nuts. "Macadamias are native to Australia and I love using them in sweets," she says. Grady recommends baking this recipe while prepping decorations. "The smell of them baking in the oven while putting up the tree really makes it feel like Christmas." 

Macadamia, Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients
3 1/2 tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (60g) dried cranberries
1 cup (120g) macadamias, halved
1 cup (160g) white chocolate chips

Method
Preheat oven to 175˚C (345˚F). Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

In a bowl, place the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla essence and beat to combine. Add the egg and stir to combine. Add the flour, bicarbonate soda, dried cranberries, macadamias and white chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Roll large spoonfuls of dough in your hands to form a ball and place on baking trays allowing space between each to spread. Continue until all dough has been used. Gently press each ball with fingers to flatten slightly. Bake in oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden.

Makes 18

Related: Lemon Fire Brigade's Chocolate Peppermint Slice-and-Bakes
Naturally Ella's Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
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Meanwhile in the Test Kitchen

The Secret to Gluten-Free Cookies

Thomas Keller and Lena Kwak

The inimitable Thomas Keller stopped by F&W HQ today with mentee Lena Kwak, The French Laundry star who created Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. The duo made pizza waffles—no joke, and they were insanely delicious—with the brand's new pancake-and-waffle mix and brought a range of other sweet and savory snacks, including empanadas, brownies (made with a new g-f mix) and pecan sandies, a favorite of chef Keller's mother. He recalled his youthful hijinks related to that cookie: "As children growing up, pecan sandies weren’t really at the top of our list. We wanted Oreos or chocolate chip cookies or Nutter Butters. But the pecan sandies were my mother’s favorite, and she would hide them at the highest part of the cabinet. When we would run out of our favorite cookies, we would tear the kitchen apart searching for the pecan sandies. Because at the end of the day, any cookie will do."

To wit, Keller and Kwak emphasize that the flour can de-gluten any childhood favorite. Cookie Week notwithstanding, our nostalgic obsession this afternoon had to be the better-than-Hostess mini cupcakes, filled with mascarpone frosting and topped with the requisite squiggle. Find that recipe and others on Cup4Cup's website.

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Ultimate Holiday Guide

Christina Tosi's Sparkle Cookies

It's either all the sugar or good grandma genes, but Christina Tosi's infectious enthusiasm for sweets has made her the queen of pastry in New York and beyond. Chandon tapped into the Momofuku Milk Bar empire builder's charm, and shot this adorable video with her demoing Sparkle Cookies, a holiday recipe she created with a splash of the sparkling wine in the icing. She also flavor the sprinkles with the stuff. Watch the clip above and download the recipe here.

Related: Christina Tosi Shares the Story Behind Her Precious Scarves
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Cookie Swap

Naturally Ella's Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies

During F&W Cookie Week, some of our favorite digital contributors are sharing their best holiday cookie recipes in a virtual swap. Post your favorite baking experiments on Instagram using #FWCookie. Here, festive slice-and-bakes from Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella.

Get the Recipe >>

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Bake This Now

America's Favorite Cookies

Year-end lists are starting to drop, including Tumblr's 2013 Year in Review (berries, manga and baby sloths ruled) and now Yahoo's data-driven round-up, which includes a newscast by everyone's favorite Anchorman, Ron Burgundy. From Yahoo, we can confirm that Cronuts really did have national impact (they were the most searched food craze) and that chocolate chip cookies remain America's most-loved (or at least, most-browsed) cookie. Other top cookie searches: peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies and no-bakes. Here, 22 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes to peruse and more delicious cookies to bake right now.

Related: America's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie Swap

Chocolate Peppermint Slice-and-Bakes

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

During F&W Cookie Week, some of our favorite digital contributors are sharing their best holiday cookie recipes in a virtual swap. Post your favorite baking experiments on Instagram using #FWCookie. Here, festive slice-and-bakes from Sarah Bolla of Lemon Fire Brigade.

Get the recipe >>

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Ultimate Holiday Guide

The Cookie Takeover

Linzer Cookies

Starting today, F&W is hosting our first ever Cookie Week. Some of our favorite bloggers will share holiday recipes for a virtual cookie swap, our Test Kitchen virtuosos are here to help solve common baking mistakes and we'll post lots of beautiful cookies in our Instagram feed. Tag your photos with #FWCookie for a chance to be featured on our site. Plus: Pin your favorites from our Christmas Cookies board and other holiday sets on Pinterest.

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Expert Guide

6 Go-To Cookie Baking Tips

Almond Cookies with Caramel Dipping Sauce

Here, F&W’s best tips for baking cookies, from how to handle butter to a trick to testing the effectiveness of baking powder and soda. Read more >

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Expert Guide

7 Ways to Upgrade Pie

Pecan Pie with Candied Ginger and Rum

At Boston’s Eastern Standard, pastry chef Lauren Kroesser is updating homey desserts for fall, offering sweets like a butterscotch bread pudding with salted caramel, or her rich pumpkin crémeaux with maple, pomegranate and goat cheese. But she is a pie lady at heart: “It’s my favorite thing by far to make and eat,” says Kroesser. “I love fruit pies and grew up making them with my mom. We would go up to Goodale Orchards in Ipswich every fall and pick apples and get doughnuts. Then we’d make crisps and pies.” Read more >

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