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Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

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You can find pistachio paste at specialty food stores and some grocery stores, but making your own is easy. Process ½ cup raw pistachios, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a food processor to a smooth paste.


  • ⅓ cup finely chopped raw pistachios
  • ½ cup sweetened pistachio paste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Place pistachios in a small bowl. Unwrap dough and slice crosswise into 18 pieces and roll each between the palms of your hands into smooth balls. Press gently into pistachios to coat half of each ball, then place, pistachio side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2" apart.

  • Bake cookies until barely golden, 8–10 minutes. Remove from oven and press the handle of a wooden spoon about three-quarters of the way down into the center of each cookie to make a round indentation, and wiggle in a circular motion to widen. Return to oven; bake until golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat pistachio paste and butter in a small bowl until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Dollop 1–2 tsp. pistachio mixture into the indentation in each cookie.

  • Do Ahead: Cookies can be baked (but not filled) 3 days ahead; store airtight at room temperature. Cookies can be filled 1 day ahead.

Reviews SectionThe pistachio paste ended up horrible nothing like the pictures. The cookie part was great but I had to look up another pistachio paste recipe to make it work.AnonymousBoca Raton, FL12/27/19Can I freeze these cookies before I put the pistachio filling in, if so for how long?CharlesRFemaleCanada12/02/19When I was 12 I had an allergic reaction to pistachios that signaled a tree nut allergy that would prevent me from eating these crunchy, joyful morsels until my mid twenties when I realized I had grown out of my allergy (apparently that's a thing). Maybe that decade+ of tree nut abstinence is the cause of my love for these cookies. Or maybe they are just that delicious. These are my favorite cookies. Agree to an extent with frustrating aspects of the recipe, but also nothing I make looks exactly like the BA picture and these cookies are delicious even if the pistachio mixture doesn't look like that perfect little piped dollop. Also I made a double batch of these cookies and the pistachio paste turned out best this way. My bigger issues are that some of the chopped pistachios catch and become a little brown and also that the cookies split when you press into the middle. That being said none of those concerns would prevent me from making these cookies because they are a little slice of heaven.The large number of reports of problems with making these dissuaded me from even attempting them. Pistachios are too expensive to waste them on a cookie failure.These are like the fancy cookies you make to impress your friend w discerning taste. pistachios and vanilla beans called for- not cheap at all. I've made these probably 4 times and have used vanilla extract bc i'm ballin on a budget. But wow, these are SCRUMMY! My paste is never super silky and always a bit browner than the photos but it tastes divine. perfect complement to the sweet, spice-full cookie. I would not suggest forming the cookie dough into logs like the sable recipe suggests- it's really not necessary. I just chill it in a big hunk and rip off a bit to form into a rounded ball. Would definitely recommend getting the nuts from the bulk bins section- usually better prices and I have never had a problem finding raw, shelled pistachios there.madmaddyGreenville, SC12/14/18Well, they do taste good, but.... As other have noted, making the pistachio paste yourself is the problem. I tried it twice (thankfully? I had overpurchased TWENTY DOLLARS worth of pistachios from Whole Foods). Both times, it came out poorly. More like a thick, dense nut butter than any kind of paste. I tried it with all ingredients in the food processor at the same time for over 5 minutes. Then I tried fully grinding the pistachios into powder by themselves in the food processor and then drizzling in the honey and vegetable oil while pulsing. Less separation, but adding butter and using the mixer resulted in the same - butter melting, everything separating, "paste" a thick, dense butter. I put it in a plastic bag and tried to pipe it, but it came out more like thick, dense goo. Maybe the problem is the roasted pistachios. I know the recipe calls for raw, but Whole Foods didn't have any. I wonder if that would have made a difference. The honey sable dough is really, really good (although also really, really rich), and the gross-LOOKING pistachio "paste" still tasted good. A good tasting, but gross looking cookie.AnonymousDublin, OH12/23/17Great recipe. One thing I wish I had done was blanch the pistachios to remove the skins. This makes the paste lighter and a more subtle taste. Otherwise perfect.AnonymousPhiladelphia12/23/17these cookies were great, however, making the pistachio paste was really tricky. I tried using a food processor, but in a fit of rage and impatience, I pulled out my old mortar and pestle. It worked much better there as I was able to grind the pistachios. It tasted far too sweet for my taste, so I added some salt into the paste to counteract the overpowering honey flavor. I also recommend putting in some unsalted butter for a creaminess.AnonymousPasadena, CA12/20/17Sable dough was delicious and came together easily, although it wasn't necessary to roll into perfect logs for this purpose as the recipe states (each log just needs to produce 18 equal-sized balls). 3/4 tsp ground cardamom sounded like too much, but it lended the perfect strength of flavor once the cookies were baked. I had the same problem as multiple other posters regarding the pistachio cream topping. The room temperature butter and pistachio paste separated in the stand mixer; the pistachio paste seemed too sticky due to the honey to combine properly with the butter. I moved the mixture back to the food processor and gave it a couple splashes of water to loosen into a smooth paste, then transferred back to the stand mixer and added an additional 2 tbsp room temp butter and one drop green food coloring. The result was a fluffy cream, perfectly suitable for piping. Will distribute this batch to coworkers and make another batch for Christmas Eve dinner!AnonymousBoston, MA12/18/17I found the cardamom overwhelming - couldn't taste the vanilla, and the pistachios were sort of lost in it too (3/4 tsp. of cardamom is more than I've seen in any recipe, ever). It was also very salty. So made it a second time with less salt and cardamom, which was better. I had roasted shelled pistachios, which I made into paste but was dark brown (totally my doing; recipe clearly says use raw nuts). For the second set, I rolled the unbaked dough in pistachios with purple and silver sparkling sugar, then added a good dollop of taste-free red food coloring gel to the pistachio paste for a rose/mauve color, then put rose petal jam on top of the pistachio paste and also dusted the outside of the cookies with rose gold edible glitter dust. They looked nice and tasted good, but I wanted something that looked really nice/unusual and tasted great, so am still searching for the perfect cookie.A note for BA/Ms. Saffitz: it's nice to have comments on texture in the recipe, so you know what you're aiming for. I wasn't sure if these should be crisp, chewy, or some combination.AnonymousBay Area, CA12/17/17These are delicious! Made the pistachio paste, first ground up the pistachios, then added a 1/2 tbsp of oil and 2 tbsp honey - turned out beautifully. The dough is delicious on it's own too...or for the linzer cookies. Would definitely make again!wheresgigi2Tucson, AZ12/17/17These are amazing! I followed the recipe for pistachio paste and it turned out like the picture. You just have to run it n the processor for a while.AnonymousSan Diego, CA12/16/17I 'd like to add that the cookie base (honey vanilla sable dough) for the thumbprint is super delicious and I would make that again, just not as pistachio thumbprints.AnonymousTrumansburg, NY12/14/17I had the same problem with trying to make pistachio paste. I did some experimenting and my conclusion is that you can not get a smooth paste unless you first grind the pistachios to a powder before you add the honey and oil. DO NOT put all three ingredients in the food processor at once. So I started again and I took the nuts and ground them in just a few seconds in a little cuisinart grinder/chopper. Then I put them in a bowl and started adding honey and oil in small amounts; then I achieved a smooth paste. Then I beat the paste with the butter in an electric mixer. A lot of work but I looked on it as a chemistry experiment, and I was bent on figuring it out. Anyway, my cookies taste good, but aren't as pretty as in the picture They kind of look like guacamole thumbprints. I did read that if you want really light green color you have to peel the skins off the pistachios first.AnonymousTrumansburg, NY12/14/17At first I was concerned that the honey sable dough was way too strong with cardamom from the way the dough smelled at first before I froze it. Have no fear! Next I was worried that the pistachio paste looked rather thick but it mixed well with soft butter which was perhaps a tad warmer that room temperature (I cheated and used microwave to soften butter) in the food processor. I don't think I succeeded in "whipping" the butter and pistachio paste to the point where it would have piped nicely, even after chilling it down a bit, but it tasted great and stayed put once spooned into the thumbprints. These cookies are delicious!AnonymousRochester, NY12/09/17I had the same problem as heyitsmegan. The pistachio paste was very thick and did not mix well at all with the butter. I tried adding more vegetable oil to this mixture and putting it into a food processor but the butter still resisted mixing with the pistachio paste. It did thin out a bit such that I still added the pistachio mixture to the cookies but the mixture didn’t have the fluffy texture shown in the photograph. It was extra disappointing considering that pistachios are expensive. I speculate that the honey was partly responsible for the thick pistachio paste and for it resisting mixing with the butterJimtheFoodieEdmonton, Alberta, Canada12/08/17I followed the recipe to make the pistachio paste exactly, but it was such a solid mass that it would not cream together with the butter. Have others had success with that??? My cookies are incomplete as a result. My low rating may be due to my own incompetence as a baker.HeyitsmeganSeattle, WA12/06/17

Pistachio Thumbprints

Photo by Kelsey McClellan

You can find pistachio paste at specialty food stores and some grocery stores, but making your own is easy. Process 1/2 cup raw pistachios, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a food processor to a smooth paste.

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31 Days of Cookies: Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies with Black Currant Jam

Continuing our month of nonstop cookies, day four brings a fruit-nut combination.

Holiday season at my house has always meant two things: lots of family time and even more cookies. Every year, my sisters and I would don our aprons and spend hours baking and decorating cookies to hand out as gifts. We were constantly on the hunt for recipes that went above and beyond the basic staples found on every buffet table.

These pistachio thumbprint cookies with black currant jam filling fit that bill: They are elegant and unique enough to stand out among your dessert spread, but they are still super easy to make. Pistachios — the cookie’s star — are naturally festive for the holidays with their green hue and sweet flavor. Homemade pistachio flour adds even nuttier flavor to the recipe while the roughly chopped nuts add texture and crunch. The tart berry jam filling complements the buttery shortbread perfectly.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 ounces roasted, salted pistachios, finely chopped

Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract in large bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until well mixed. Add flour, salt, and pudding mix beat well. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb.

Bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

Combine white chocolate chips, milk, and orange zest in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Pour white chocolate mixture into a piping bag and pipe into the thumbprint of the cooled cookies. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Pistachio & Cream Thumbprint Cookies

Here’s what you’ll need to make these little gems:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 (3.4 oz) pkg. instant pistachio pudding, dry mix
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp. butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, room temp
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk

You will also need extra chocolate chips or melting chocolate to melt and drizzle over cookies at the end.

Cookie Directions: 1) Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. 2) Add egg, almond extract and vanilla. 3) Beat in flour and pistachio pudding mix. 4) Stir in mini chocolate chips. 5) Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll in chopped pecans. 6) Place on greased cookie sheet and press thumb into each cookie. 7) Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and let cool.

Cream Filling Directions: Mix all ingredients for cream filling together. Fill each cookie with a dollop of cream filling.

Melt chocolate and drizzle over these thumbprint cookies! I put some chocolate melting wafers in a ziplock baggie and microwaved it in 10 second increments, massaging the bag each time, until it had melted. I then snipped off a tiny bit of one corner of the baggie and drizzled the chocolate that way. Super easy!

If you have 30 minutes or so before you’re taking these somewhere, I would pop them in the fridge. The cream filling is SO GOOD if it has had a chance to set up a little bit!

(This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.)

As a seasoned veteran of the cookie making game, I have definitely decided on a few favorite items that I use pretty much every time I pull out the ingredients to make cookies! I’ve complied a list below with links to each item … do you have any favorites that I missed?

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies!

I love a pistachio cookie at Christmas time.

I mean, what’s more festive than a green cookie?! My kids took one look at these Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies and called them Grinch cookies and now I feel like I really missed an opportunity with some red heart sprinkles.

And these have both vanilla and almond extracts so they’re reminiscent of Blue Bell’s Pistachio Almond Ice Cream which is one of my absolute favorite things in the world.

The pistachio flavor and green color come from an instant pudding mix which gives cookies the absolute best texture. They’re soft but not chewy. And they’re made with powdered sugar so they have that melt-in-your-mouth texture that I just can’t resist.

They’re rolled in chopped pecans for a crunch and then filled with a vanilla filling.

From there you just drizzle with melted chocolate and let everything set!

If you’re one of those organized people that makes cookies in advance, you could either make the dough and freeze it or go ahead and bake them and freeze them – but I don’t think I would fill or glaze them. Wait to do that fresh.

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

I developed this recipe specifically for Passover as these thumbprints are completely flourless and grainless. But these cookies are great year-round if you want to make a fantastic cookie for afternoon tea or want a small and relatively healthy dessert.

These cookies are actually inspired by a traditional Spanish Passover cookie called almendrados. Almendrados are (as the name implies) almond cookies, but they are a little boring and lackluster. I gave them a twist by subbing out almonds for pistachios, adding orange zest to the dough, and turning them into thumbprint cookies so you can customize them with your favorite jam. I chose pistachios because they are (a) my favorite nut, although I do love almonds, and (b) because the cookies are a lovely green color that is perfect for springtime.

If your dough is sticking to your fingers when thumbprinting them, dipping your fingers in water frequently will help prevent sticking immensely.

It is important to take these cookies out of the oven when they are soft, or they will be too hard once they cool.

If you’re not a fan of jam, feel free to fill the cookies with Nutella or some other spread. Alternatively, you could just form them into balls and press them down slightly to bake them as thumbprint-less cookies.

Do not use roasted pistachios. While their flavor is slightly better, they tend to be quite brown and will yield a less pretty cookie.

If you can’t find blanched (i.e. skinless) pistachios, you can take the extra step of blanching them yourself (warning this may be labor-intensive). Boil 4 cups of water in a small saucepan and add the shelled pistachios. Remove from heat and let steep for 3 minutes, then drain immediately. Rub the pistachios on a kitchen towel a handful at a time to remove the papery skin. If any skins remain, you can sort of pinch the skin off the nut. The pistachios will feel slightly damp at this point, but that will not affect the dough, just make sure they are dried from the kitchen towel.

2 cups/235 grams unsalted, shelled pistachios (preferably without skins)

½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar

½ cup of orange marmalade, apricot jam, or another jam/filling of your choice

Special Cookware Needed


In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the pistachios and pulse until very finely ground. Add the sugar, egg, and orange zest, and pulse until a dough forms around the blade. Transfer dough to a small bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

When ready to bake, place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a half-baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Using a tablespoon, scoop out equal amounts of dough. Roll each piece into a round ball using your palms. Place each ball on the parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart, and press down each ball to lightly flatten. Using your thumb, make a deep imprint in the middle of each dough piece and widen to make a well (do not press all the way to the parchment paper).

Bake the cookies until they just pick up a bit of color but are still soft, about 10 minutes. Take the cookies out of the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Fill the wells with a teaspoon of jam each using a spoon or a pastry bag. Let cool completely. Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for about a week.

Moroccan Dinner with La Crema: Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

Over the past two years, I’ve developed a series of dinner menus with La Crema, each one featuring the flavors of a different country. For most of the dinners in this series – Japanese Izakaya, Italian Seafood, Provencal Rose – my inspiration has been firsthand. But for this one, featuring the warming spices of Morocco, I’m an armchair traveler. An armchair eater maybe? So I can’t tell you if these recipes taste just like they would if they were eaten outside the bustling Medina or in the cool courtyard of a riad. All I can promise is that they evoke warmth and vibrancy, two things I find myself craving as the days shorten and darken.

As usual, this menu contains an appetizer, a main course, a side dish, and a dessert. The first three courses are all over on the La Crema blog, and you can find the dessert recipe – for Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies – below. The appetizer this time is a Spiced Moroccan Carrot Dip, served with fresh pita bread. It’s a surprisingly flavorful and vibrant appetizer, made bright with a bit of lemon, tahini, and pomegranate molasses. I found myself craving it after work the day after I made it, which is pretty rare for snacks that are mostly made of vegetables.

The main course is Moroccan-Braised Lamb Shanks, served over what I’ve decided to call Royal Couscous – couscous with lots of delicious mix-ins like apricots and pistachios. The lamb is a rich, slow-cooked dish flavored by sweet dates, Pinot Noir, tomatoes, stock, and warming spices. After two and a half hours in the oven the lamb should be meltingly tender. Spooned over couscous mixed with apricots, pistachios, chickpeas, apricots, parsley, red onion, and preserved lemon it makes a meal fit for a feast. Especially with a bottle of La Crema’s Monterey Pinot Noir served alongside it! Lamb is great with lighter-bodied, fruity, yet spicy red wines like Pinot Noir.

And for dessert, Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies. There is a traditional Moroccan dessert called a m’hanncha, commonly translated as snake cake. As far as I can tell, it’s an impressive rolled and coiled version of baklava. I thought about making this massive dessert for this post, but thought it might be a bit much for Trevor and I to tackle eating in the next few days. And also, I really wanted a cookie. It’s that time of year, you know? So I took the flavors of the m’hanncha and translated them to something more bite-sized: Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies.

They’re not the world’s prettiest cookie – although that little drizzle of white chocolate helps! The lovely green color I was imagining was instantly lost when I added a tablespoon of cinnamon the filling mixture. But – they are really delicious! The filling has such a lovely hint of rosewater in every bite. They are easy to make and the flavors are unexpected. The cookie base is a simple, soft sugar cookie that I adapted from these thumbprint cookies on Epicurious. It comes together really easily and rolls nicely without any chilling or finesse needed. Since the nut filling is fairly sticky, it’s easy to get the filling to adhere to the cookie.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to head over to the La Crema blog via the links above for the other recipes!

Pistachio Wedding Cookies

The ORIGINAL recipe for Pistachio Wedding Cookies that took the internet by storm! Thousands of people have pinned and tried this recipe with rave reviews time after time! These melt-in-your-mouth Pistachio Wedding Cookies will quickly become your new favorite! Once you try them you’ll see why they are a blog favorite!

The Christmas Cookie countdown continues this week with these buttery, melt in your mouth soft pistachio wedding cookies. I have to admit, these are probably my favorite cookie and I have my father to thank for getting me hooked on these. My dad brought over a tray of assorted Italian cookies, one of them being a soft pistachio cookie. I don’t think any of us could stop eating them. They were the first gone on the tray. I stopped at the bakery to see what they were called and they really had no name for them. They just said they were a pistachio cookie, however they were not filled with a lot of pistachios like other pistachio cookies I have tried in the past. I was on the hunt to find out what this cookie was. It was a blend between a Italian or Mexican wedding cake and a shortbread.

After researching my way through eating a few dozen cookies (the things we do to create a recipe) I finally came up with a close comparison to the cookie I just can’t get enough of.

These my friends, are simply amazing if I haven’t mentioned that already. They are also so easy, very similar to the ingredients you would find in wedding cakes but the secret ingredient in mine that give them that lovely minty green color and that hint of pistachio just like those cookies I fell in love with is instant pistachio pudding. If you love buttery, soft cookies these will quickly become of favorite of yours as well.

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