ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Monday, December 29, 2008

VGP #29 Fennel Pistachio Cookies

These cookies stopped me in my tracks while flipping through my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. First, I love pistachios. Second, I have fennel in my spice cupboard but have only used it once, and never for cookies. I found the combination highly intriguing. And third, the recipe was not part of the magazine but in an advertisement...for butter. So I figured if, out of all the cookie recipes out there, butter was using this one to advertise itself, it was worth my time. And I was right.

Fennel (warm and licoricey), pistachio (nutty), lemon (bright and tart), and almond extract (sweet) are the main flavors in here; they are a great ensemble cast. I was afraid the called-for 2 Tablespoons of almond extract was a typo - I've never seen a recipe call for that much. Just in case, I used only 1 Tablespoon, but in the end the other flavors are strong enough to counter the almond so 2 would be ok. These are soft but not too soft, sweet, nutty, and wonderfully flavorful!
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 T almond extract
1 T lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped, plus extra for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. In bowl of electric mixter beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar; mix well. Add egg; beat well. Add almond, lemon zest and fennel seeds; mix to combine.

2. In separate medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add butter mixture; beat well. Stir in pistachio nuts; dough will be stiff.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, flatten balls slightly and sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly on sheets; remove to wire racks to cool. Makes 3 dozen.

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