Light and fluffy, soft and moist, Pistachio Pudding Cookies are a cookie-lover’s dream; and they’re green too so they’re perfect for the holidays! Plus, they’re made with cream cheese, so you know they’ll stay soft and moist!
When I started putting together a list of for this second series of Christmas cookies, I kept going back to these Pistachio Pudding Cookies. The recipe caught my attention a year ago. The recipe is from a fellow food blogger friend, Elaine Benoit, who blogs over at Dishes Delish.
She published her recipe last December and I couldn’t possibly put together Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 2 without including her Pistachio Cookies! I reached out to Elaine back in September and asked her if she would mind me recreating her recipe and sharing it with my readers. She agreed and I couldn’t be more excited! Thank you, Elaine!
Pistachio Pudding Cookies are made with cream cheese, so right out of the gate, you know they’re going to be soft and moist. The pistachios offer up a little bit of crunch, although we all know that pistachios are not really that crunchy!
They’re also very delicate in terms of sweetness. Most Christmas cookies are loaded with sugar, but these are not. The cream cheese helps to subdue the sweetness, and the pistachio pudding helps to increase the pistachio flavour. Oh, and they’re green, because – you know – Christmas!!! Let’s break it down.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
CAN I MAKE SUBSTITUTIONS?
Listen, I’m a firm believer in substitutions to a point! If the base of the cookie dough isn’t changed by the substitution, then I say go for it! Want to cut back on the fat/sugar content? Use fat free cream cheese, and you can use reduced fat butter as well.
If you prefer, you can also cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup, but no less than that! The cookies taste bland without at least that much sugar. Have you ever tasted baked flour? That’s what they will taste like. No thanks!
You can change up the vanilla extract and use pistachio extract if you can find it. I like the Watkins brand, but vanilla works just fine in this recipe. You can also omit the green food colouring, but I wanted the cookies to be noticeably green, so I used just a dab of gel food colouring.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Cream Cheese – When baking with cream cheese it is always best to use brick style rather than whipped or cream cheese in a tub. The brick style is firmer and more condensed. Cream cheese adds texture and flavour to baked items.
- Sugar – Sugar will caramelize when baked, which will help to brown cookies and cakes. In cookies, the sugar will help the dough to spread, and will create a crispness to the bottom of the cookie.
- Egg – One large egg is all you need. Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
- Salt – This is a common ingredient in baking and cooking. In baking it helps to enhance and balance sweetness. In cooking it helps to bring out natural flavours in things like vegetables.
- Pistachios – They are seeds from the fruits of a pistachio vera tree. The fruit dries and hardens until it cracks open exposing the seed. Their green color makes them popular in ice creams, confections, baked goods, sweets, and even butter and oil. They have a very distinct flavour and are quite delicious when salted and roasted.
- Pistachio Pudding Mix – see next paragraph.
WHAT TYPE OF PISTACHIO PUDDING SHOULD I USE?
Basically, there’s two types of boxed pistachio pudding – regular and instant. In most cases, you’ll be hard-pressed to find regular pudding mix anymore, because they world has gone and got itself in a hurry. Don’t worry; the instant works perfectly and that’s what I used in this recipe.
WHOLE, RAW, ROASTED, SALTED – WHAT TYPE OF PISTACHIO CAN I USE?
Again, you can have total flexibility here. You will want to use chopped pistachios, or you can buy whole like I did and chop them yourself. I must confess, I’m not a fan of raw nuts of any kind. I know they’re better for me, but I grew up with roasted, salted nuts and seeds.
So, that’s what I used here. I used whole, dry roasted, salted pistachios from Trader Joe’s. Just a bit of advice, if you use salted pistachios, do not add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the recipe. And, if you do not like the taste of sweet and salt together, do not use salted pistachios.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh as the day you first made them. When thawing, place the cookies onto a wire cooling rack in a single layer. Wait about 20 minutes or so and they will be perfectly thawed and ready to devour!
I really didn’t sway too far from Elaine’s recipe. I did increase the amount of pistachios just a little bit. Also, I added just a little bit of green food colouring. I wanted the colour to be a little more intense, because I wanted them to be extra green for Christmas!
If you really want to take these cookies up a notch, you’ll have to take a look at how Elaine finishes up her original cookie. She dips them in melted chocolate! Yes, Dear Reader – chocolate dipped pistachio pudding cookies – you know you want it!
Pistachio Pudding Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 drops green food colouring, optional
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package Pistachio Pudding Mix
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and green food colouring until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.
- Next, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and Pistachio Pudding Mix. Beat on low speed until just mixed into the butter mixture.
- Using a wood spoon, stir in 1/2 cup of the pistachios.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, portion the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon size portions. Roll into balls and place on the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space around each cookie.
- Using the back of a fork, press a cross pattern into each cookie dough ball and flatten to 1/4 inch thick.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios onto the top of each cookie.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven and allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling.