Pistachio pinwheels

By Claire Saffitz
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This is one of those ace-up-your-sleeve, slice-and-bake cookie recipes every baker needs. The pinwheels are super tasty, need no decoration, and require no major assembly. These buttery, nutty, shortbready cookies achieve the highest calling for any recipe: They look and taste as if they are harder to make than they are.

YIELDS
32 COOKIES

Ingredients

  • Food processor
  • 2/8 cup shelled pistachios (3.2 oz /90g)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter(6 oz /170g), cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (3.7 oz / 105g)
  • 2 large egg yolks (1.1 oz / 32g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (4.6 oz / 130g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1-1/8 cups almond flour (5.6 oz / 160g)
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar, for rolling

Directions

  1. Grind the pistachios: In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they’re very finely ground but not yet forming a paste, about 25 pulses. Transfer the ground pistachios to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the dough in the food processor: To the same food processor (no need to wash after grinding the pistachios), add the butter and powdered sugar and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the yolks and almond extract and process until the mixture is smooth and light.
  3. Add the flour and salt and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until you have a stiff, uniform dough.
  4. Mix the almond dough: Transfer two-thirds of the dough to a medium bowl and add the almond flour to the bowl (if you want to weigh the dough, it should be about 10 oz / 283g). Use a flexible spatula to work the almond flour into the dough until you have a uniform mixture.
  5. Work the almond dough into a slab: Scrape the almond dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Pat it down with your hands into a thinner layer, then place a piece of parchment paper on top. Roll out the dough between the sheets of parchment into a slab measuring about 12×8 inches and 1/4 inch thick (uncover the dough and use a small offset spatula to shape the dough into a rectangle if necessary). Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and refrigerate the slab until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Mix the pistachio dough: Meanwhile, add the ground pistachios to the food processor with the remaining dough and pulse until the mixture is thoroughly blended and the dough has taken on a green color, about 7 pulses. Set aside at room temperature until the almond dough is firm.
  7. Form the pinwheels: Remove the almond dough from the refrigerator and plop tablespoon-sized pieces of the pistachio dough across the surface of the slab. Use the offset spatula to spread the pistachio dough across the length of the slab in an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border along the longer sides. Starting at one of the longer sides and using the parchment paper to help you, roll the dough into a tight spiraled log. Wrap the log in parchment paper and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill until the dough is very firm, at least 1 hour.
  8. Prepare the pans and preheat the oven: Meanwhile, arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  9. Roll the log in the demerara sugar and slice: Sprinkle the demerara sugar across a cutting board. Remove the log from the refrigerator, unwrap, and roll across the board in the sugar, pressing down very firmly as you roll so the sugar adheres. Continue to roll and press until the entire log is coated. Using a sharp knife, shave a thin crosswise slice off of each end so you have straight sides with the full spiral exposed. Cut the log in half crosswise, then cut each half in half again to make quarters, and cut each quarter in half again for eighths. As you cut, rotate the pieces on the cutting board to prevent the pinwheels from gaining a flat side and losing their round shape. Cut each piece into 4 equal slices to make 32 cookies.
  10. Bake: Arrange the cookies flat, dividing them between the two prepared baking sheets and spacing evenly. Bake the cookies on the upper and lower racks until they are golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes, switching racks and rotating the sheets front to back halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets

Do ahead:

  1. The pinwheels, stored airtight at room temperature, will keep up to five days or can be frozen up to two months. The log of dough, well wrapped and unsliced, can be refrigerated up to two days and frozen up to two months. Thaw 24 hours in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
  2. Look for blanched pistachios, which have the papery skins removed, although unblanched pistachios will also work. Do look for pistachios that are as green as possible for maximum contrast with the almond layer.

 

Excerpted from Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence by Claire Saffitz. Copyright © 2020 Claire Saffitz. Photographs © 2020 Alex Lau. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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