February 13, 2011

Rose-Pistachio Shortbread

Well, what can I say? Except I think I fantasize that I must have been a Moroccan princess in one of my past lives! Because I think I will like to rise and dreamily  wash my face in the morning with rose-scented water, daintily sip some rose tea for breakfast (and through the rest of the day) and then proceed to spend the rest of my day presiding over the cooks as they concoct all sorts of rose-scented and rose-flavored delicacies for me: the royal rose-crazed princess.

I am not sure when it started or why or how it came about, but I just love the smell of roses. Being able to use it in cooking and baking makes it all the more better. So, when I found rose extract at my local Sur la Table some weeks ago, I grabbed it. And I had been dreaming up ways to use it.

When Chinese New Year was round the corner, I somehow decided to try a shortbread recipe I found in The Sono Baking Company Cookbook (by John Barricelli). Barricelli wrote that these delicious cookies was one of the easiest to make. I tried it and though it was fairly easy to make, it was a little lacking in flavor for me, and I did not enjoy the sanding sugar around the edges of the cookie. I thought to replace the vanilla extract with rose extract and to use chopped pistachios instead of sanding sugar. The result was a subtle rose flavor in the cookies, and a nice color and crunch around the edges of the cookies.-- that was my version of our Chinese New Year cookie, implying a rosy outlook for the year, with the green of the pistachios heralding spring and prosperity!

Rose-Pistachio Shortbread


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar (sift before measuring!)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp rose extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted pistachios


Sift flour together with cornstarch into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat together butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrap down bowl halfway through. Beat in rose extract.
Switch mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients. Beat just until flour is absorbed.

Divide dough into two and form each into a rectangle log. Press each side of the log into the chopped pistachios, then wrap in parchment paper, twist ends and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one log from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place cookies an inch apart on baking sheet. Bake cookies on upper rack first, rotating baking sheet about two-thirds way through baking time, moving sheet from upper rack to lower rack. Cookies will not really brown, but will develop a rim of gold around the edges, about 12-15 minutes.

Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer cookies with spatula from sheet to rack to cool completely. Repeat with second log.



  1. Mmmmmm! These look so good. I am a rose fanatic, too. My sister got me some solid rose-scented perfume two Christmases ago and it's one of my favorites. It actually smells like roses, not too perfumy. I will have to check out my local Sur la Table for rose extract and try this recipe!

  2. :-) I am glad to meet a fellow rose fanatic. I even add it to chocolate cakes!