These pistachio butter biscuits taste amazing. They are packed with chopped pistachio nuts for extra crunch, and the texture of the cookie is so buttery, light and crispy that it just melts in your mouth.
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Pistachio butter cookies
Take one bite of these crunchy pistachio butter cookies and you'll never look at biscuits in the same way again. These cookies are light and crispy and packed with the flavour of pistachios, yet they are so buttery they just melt in your mouth.
I've had many attempts at making the ultimate crispy cookie, and while they all tasted really good, they didn't have that crispy crunch that I was looking for.
Some turned out chewy, and while others started out crispy, they didn't retain their crispness for very long. But after lots of experiments, I think I've come up with a recipe for a really crispy biscuit that provides a satisfying 'crunch' when you bite into it.
These pistachio butter biscuits are my favourite and I'm sure they are going to become yours too.
Secrets for a crispy butter biscuit
All biscuits are made with similar ingredients - flour, sugar, butter or shortening and eggs, but it's the way you use the ingredients that makes all the difference.
For the crispiest biscuit, we need to inhibit the production of gluten. Gluten is formed when the proteins in flour come into contact with moisture. Its formation is further enhanced by mixing and handling such as kneading in dough making. It is gluten that provides the chewy texture in bread and the soft structure in cakes. Therefore, for crispy biscuits, we clearly need to reduce the moisture content and handle the dough as little as possible.
- Flour - you need to use plain all-purpose flour (or cake flour if you live in South Africa). Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour and should be avoided when making biscuits.
- Sugar - use a sugar with the lowest possible water content. Less water equals a crispier biscuit. Icing sugar, (or confectioner's sugar if you live in the US) provides the perfect sweetener as it has a much lower water content than granulated or caster sugar.
- Butter - instead of creaming the butter and sugar together which will release moisture from the sugar, these biscuits use the rubbing method of mixing. The butter is rubbed into the flour which coats the flour molecules with fat and inhibits any moisture from penetrating the flour cells to create gluten.
- Eggs - only use egg yolk to bind your mixture together. Egg whites have a higher moisture content, so using only yolks will also help prevent the formation of gluten.
The gluten that is formed during mixing also relaxes on resting, so for these biscuits, we leave the dough in the fridge for half an hour before baking.
So - to summarise - for a really crispy biscuit:
- Keep the moisture content to a minimum
- Coat the flour with butter
- Handle the dough as little as possible
- Let the dough rest in the fridge before baking.
How to make crispy pistachio butter biscuits
This recipe is very easy to make, and will yield 18 biscuits. You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making these pistachio butter biscuits on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Mix the dough
Start off by measuring the flour and icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add (image 1 above).
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. There is a lot of butter in this recipe in relation to the flour, so you may find that the mixture looks as though it is clumping together even though it has been thoroughly rubbed in (image 2 above).
Add the egg yolk (image 3 above), mix with a flat-bladed knife until it starts to come together, then get your hands in and press together until it forms a ball of dough (image 4 above). Handle the dough as little as possible, and do not knead.
Add the pistachio nuts and allow to rest
Place the pistachio nuts in a food processor and whizz around to chop them up slightly. Don't over-process them. You want to have some largish pieces of nuts in the biscuits. If you don't have a food processor don't worry. You can chop these nuts by hand using a sharp knife and a chopping board.
Pour the chopped nuts into the mixing bowl with the dough (image 1 above) then gently work them through, so that they are evenly distributed into the dough (image 2 above).
Roll the dough into a log shape, wrap it in clingfilm or plastic wrap (image 3 above) and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the dough to rest. The butter will harden up again during this time, making the dough easy to slice through.
Slice and bake
Take the cold dough from the refrigerator and remove and discard the plastic wrap. Slice the dough into thin slices, approximately ½ cm thick. Arrange the biscuit slices on a baking tray leaving a space between each to allow for expansion as they bake (image 1 above).
Place the baking tray in a pre-heated oven (185F / 365C) for approximately 15 minutes, until the biscuits are slightly browned around the edges (image 2 above).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store the butter biscuits in an air-tight tin once cooled. The biscuits will stay crispy for up to 4 days if you can leave them that long!!!!
Can I freeze pistachio butter biscuits?
You can freeze the wrapped log of raw dough for up to 6 months. Just place the clingfilm-wrapped dough inside another freezer bag before freezing.
To bake, remove the dough from the freezer and let it defrost at room temperature until the dough is soft enough to slice through.
Slice the cold dough, arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet as per the recipe and bake for the time and temperature given in the recipe.
Can I make a larger batch?
Yes, you can double or even triple the quantities of the ingredients in this butter biscuit recipe.
Why not make a large batch and freeze a few logs so that you can bake these biscuits whenever you feel like them?
Can I make the in advance?
Yes, you can mix up the dough for these biscuits in advance. Once you have wrapped the log of pastry in clingfilm you can leave it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before baking.
Just allow the log to soften at room temperature sufficiently to enable you to slice through it, then slice and bake as per the recipe instructions.
Instead of using pistachio nuts, why not substitute the nuts for chocolate chips and make extra crispy chocolate chip cookies?
You could also substitute the pistachios for these ingredients:
- desiccated coconut
- chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
- chopped glace cherries
Just substitute any of the above for the same quantity as the pistachio nuts.
What flavours would YOU use? Let me know in the comments.
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Other baking recipes
If you enjoyed these pistachio cookies you may also enjoy these other baking recipes
Crispy pistachio butter biscuits
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Spatula or flat-bladed knife
- ¾ cup (105g) plain all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (90g) confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
- ¾ stick (85g) butter
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- ½ cup (60g) chopped pistachio nuts
- Sift the flour and confectioner's sugar (icing sugar) into a mixing bowl
- Add the salt if using
- Cut the butter into small blocks and add to the flour and sugar
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the egg yolk and using a spatula mix to combine, then press the dough together with your fingers to form a ball.
- Add the chopped pistachio nuts and gently work them into the dough.
- Form into a log or sausage shape, wrap in clingflim or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest and harden.
- Pre-heat the oven to 185°C / 365°F
- Remove the hardened log of dough from the fridge and slice into ½cm thick rounds.
- Place the biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until the edges start to turn brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight tin in the kitchen.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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