"Chewy Cherry Pistachio Cookies"
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon sea salt*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Chop pistachios until you have about 1/2 cup. Chop dried cherries until you have about 1/2 cup. Set aside both portions in their separate cups.
Cut the butter into chunks. Place them in a microwave-safe container. Microwave until melted (about 1 minute). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, measure 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup quick oats, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt*, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. (*If using salted nuts, use only a pinch of salt or skip it altogether.) Whisk the dry ingredients until evenly mixed. Set the bowl aside.
In a medium bowl, put 1 egg, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or a mixer, until it begins to thicken and form ribbons. Stir in the melted butter until fully combined.
Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Stir until just combined. It will be wet, more like batter than dough. Fold in the chopped pistachios. This should make the dough stiffen up more. Fold in the chopped cherries. (If you want to pause here, wrap the dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to a week for freeze for up to several months.)
Use a spoon to drop blobs of dough onto the parchment-covered cookie sheet, patting them into balls a little smaller than a ping-pong ball. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
This recipes makes about 20-24 cookies depending on the size.
When I researched recipes for pistachio cookies, I found the vast majority of them produced crunchy cookies. I wanted something softer, so I created this recipe for soft chewy cookies instead. It's a variation of what's often called a "kitchen-sink cookie," so many choices of ingredients are possible, but this specific combination works well together. You also get a cookie with red-and-green flecks for holiday color. Chopping the pistachios and the cherries lets them spread out more in the cookies. You want them between the size of regular and mini chocolate chips.
Melting the butter makes it easier to combine with other ingredients and yields a chewier cookie that spreads more. If your cookies spread too much, or you want a higher cake-like cookie, either use more solid butter or chill the dough after you make it. If they don't spread enough, gently flatten the balls before baking. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, you can add a little more butter.
Whole wheat flour adds fiber, and its nutty flavor goes great with the pistachios. You can get away with using white flour if that's all you have, or white flour plus some wheat germ.
Most cookie recipes call for rolled oats. I used quick oats because that's what I generally keep on hand. They work fine in cookies. If you have rolled oats, you can actually turn them into quick oats by running them through a food processor to break them down to about half the original size.
Cardamom is a sweet, warming spice with floral notes often used with pistachios. Cinnamon or ginger would also work, and garam masala might. I plan to try this with Nord spices, a cardamom-based blend.
Sea salt has a more complex flavor, but you can use table salt if you wish.
This recipe uses less sugar than average, for a mildly sweet cookie. Combining light brown and white sugars makes the texture chewy and the flavor complex. If you want them sweeter, you can add more sugar, or some mashed dried dates; but that will make the dough wetter, so you might need more flour or oats.
If you stop baking the cookies when the edges are golden and the centers soft, , they will come out softer. If you wait until they're more golden, they will come out crispier. Look at them when they come out. If they seem not quite done, then leave them on the cookie sheet to finish cooking. This also helps them stay soft and chewy. If they already look done, let them sit for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. This also makes them crispier.
After cooling, store the cookies in an airtight container.