True fact: We could all use a few more cookies in our everyday lives. Don’t you agree? If we spent our days eating cookies instead of doing things we had to do like work, chores, and running around doing errands we’d all be much more productive. Things would actually get done. Okay, maybe productive isn’t the right word I’m looking for. Things wouldn’t get done, let’s be honest. We’d definitely be happier and that’s really what is most important here. These little cookie sandwiches are inspired by a post I did last year called Mini Pistachio Boston Cream Pies. Do you remember these? Pistachio cakes filled with pistachio pastry cream and topped with chocolate ganache and chopped pistachios. A pistachio lovers dream, for sure. I actually made them this month a year ago and they were delicious. It’s hard to believe how fast time goes, but look at us now, a year later and we’re still talking about cookies and cakes and pistachios and chocolate. Obviously we’re doing this thing called life the right way. If everyone else could just see us now. They’d be jealous. Jealous because we’re spending our days eating cookies. I’d be jealous myself if I wasn’t already participating in this glorious activity involving cookies.
This dessert is perfect for dinner parties or events because they’re tiny, and I’ve come to realize that people really love tiny food. I don’t know what it is about the words “mini,” “bite-sized,” and “little” that get people really excited. If you make these for your next party or gathering, I guarantee you that everyone will be all like, “OMG! LOOK HOW CUTE THIS TINY FOOD AND/OR DESSRT IS!” Then everyone will clamor over and push and shove each other to get a closer look and they’ll start taking photos and share them on all of their social media, grabbing at them with their paws, and before you know it they’re all gone and you’re the star of the party and everyone is chanting your name because you made them. YES YOU MADE THEM! So what are you waiting for?! Do yourself a favor and get in that kitchen right now. It’s the weekend…weekends are meant for baking. It’s officially Fall. Fall is also meant to be spent in the kitchen baking up a storm. We’re already two days into Autumn, have you started baking yet? What have you made so far and what do you plan on making? I want to know! Leave a comment below and share some of your seasonal cooking and baking plans with me.
There are a few steps to this recipe, but I feel like if we break them down into parts (and make some ahead of time), it’ll make the recipe seem less daunting and much more approachable. Promise me you’ll try?! Let’s start by making the pistachio pastry cream from the original recipe. I’ll still go through it just in case you forgot.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean seeds and salt. Stir in the milk and egg yolks.
**Note: To get the seeds out of a vanilla bean, cut the bean lengthwise straight down the middle. Using the edge of your knife, scrape out the insides of the vanilla bean. Add that to the dry ingredients to the pot.**
Set the pot over medium-high heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and starts to get darker in color.
**Note: Make sure you constantly stir the custard and that you DO NOT walk away from it thinking, oh I’ll just go and check on the mail or answer some email or jump on a call…that’s bad. It’ll curdle fast, and then you’ll be sad.**
Once thick, remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla extract and pistachio paste.
**Note: To make the pistachio purée, add the shelled pistachios to a food processor and pulse until thick and forms a paste. You might need to add a splash of water to help it along. Then pour half of this paste into the custard and save the other half for the shortbread cookies.**
Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure to place the plastic wrap directly onto the custard, so that it’s actually touching the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
**Tip: You can definitely make this a few days in advance, or the night before. Just wrap well and store in fridge until ready to use. It might even be better because the custard needs to be really cold before you can sandwich it in between the cookies.**
Let’s talk about cookies for a moment. These are more of a shortbread than a cookie. But who’s complaining about that? They’re easy to make and very addictive. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the remaining pistachio paste, egg and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined and smooth.
Add the flour mixture, in batches so that it doesn’t go flying everywhere, and mix just until incorporated after each addition.
**Note: You might want to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula once all the flour has been added to ensure that it’s all evenly incorporated.**
Scoop out the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment papers. Use a small ice cream scoop to keep them all the same size.
Lightly grease your palms with cooking spray and then flatten out the dough balls to make sure they’re flat. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Once cooled, let’s fill the cookies. Spread half of the cookies (on the underside) with the chilled pistachio pastry cream we made earlier.
**Note: The cookies can be baked a day in advance, stored in an airtight container and then filled and dipped the day you plan on serving them.**
Sandwich the cookies together with the remaining half of the cookies, and allow to sit for a few minutes to set. This will allow the cookies to remain sandwiched together when we proceed to the next step. The most important step.
Because these cookies aren’t wild just like this all on their own, they are going to get dipped in dark chocolate ganache. Let’s live on the wild side.
**Note: If you want a step-by-step guide on how to make ganache, you can take a look at the original post these cookies are based off of.**
STOP. Put that cookie down. Before you dive in and start chomping down on these cookies, you need to let them rest for a minute or two to let the ganache set. I promise you it’s important.
If you have any cookies leftover (you’d be crazy to have any leftover but maybe you couldn’t finish them all in one sitting) then you can place them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to 3 days.
If you don’t have pistachios on hand, you can easily swap them out for either almonds or hazelnuts for a different flavored cookie. They’re just as easy to make with any of those nuts, or just keep them plain and have them be more like traditional Boston Cream Pie. It’ll save you a step.
I like eating these cold for some reason. Maybe because the chocolate sets and the cream filling chills in the fridge and the cookies begin to soften a bit because of the moisture. It’s great. So I make them ahead of time, either the night before or a couple hours prior to eating them. It saves a little bit of time if you’re looking for desserts to make ahead.
If you don’t have time to make pastry cream or you just don’t want to because you don’t feel like it, feel free to make your own dessert out of this post by just making the shortbread cookies and dipping them halfway into the chocolate ganache and sprinkling with chopped pistachios. You’d still have homemade delicious chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread cookies to show for it. Everyone will still go crazy for them, I promise.
When it comes to these cookies we can easily forget about simple things like sharing with others, so I’m here to remind you that…you definitely don’t have to share these cookies with anyone if you don’t want to. In fact, make them on a day you’re alone at home. DO NOT tell anyone about your baking adventures that day. Once the cookies are made, eat a few fast so that no one sees you. Then wrap up the rest and stash them deep in the fridge, hiding them with behind something you know no one will grab. Then when you feel the urge for a cookie sandwich, you make your way into the kitchen (mission impossible style) and claim your prize.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup shelled pistachios
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pistachio Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
- Dark Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk or sift the flour, salt and baking powder together. Pour 1/2 cup pistachios into a food processor and blend until it forms a paste. Add a splash of water to help it along. Set aside.
- The the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the pistachio paste, egg and vanilla and stir until evenly combined. Add the flour, in batches and stir until just combined after each addition. Once all the flour has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.
- Scoop out the dough using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Using lightly greased hands, flatten out the mounds with your palms to even them out. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking for even browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Spread half of the cookies (bottom side) with the pistachio pastry cream and sandwich together with the remaining cookies. Dip the top side with dark chocolate ganache and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Allow to set before serving. Leftovers can be stored in fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy!
- Yield: about 10 to 12 small cookie sandwiches
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¾ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Place pistachios in a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste. Add a splash of water to help it along. Set aside.
- Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla seeds (scraped from the vanilla bean) in a small sauce pot. Stir in the milk and egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it has thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla and remaining half of pistachio paste. Stir until well incorporated. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the cream directly. Chill in the fridge until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
- Yield: about 1½ cups
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Set a small saucepan with the heavy cream and butter over medium heat. Warm through until the butter has melted and the cream forms little bubbles around the edges. Do not bring to a boil.
- Add the chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream and butter into the bowl and let sit for about 3 minutes without stirring. Stir until smooth. Use right away or wrap in plastic and store in fridge until ready to use. Rewarm over a pot of boiling water or in microwave.
- Yield: about 1 cup