Country Cleaver

Cookin' My Way Back to the Country

Pistachio Shortbread

You know what makes 15 hunters really awkward and anxious? Standing around a fire circle with no fire in it.   But you wanna know what helps that anxiety – pistachio shortbread. Or coconut shortbread, if that’s more your speed.


This weekend I made a mad dash back to Eastern Washington to the tiny town of Winthrop to spend a day and change with the family up at hunting camp. When hunting season comes around, the whole world – or at least that of my family – stops and focuses solely on the rites and rituals of the season. A week up at the same camp, on the same ridge, on the same people every. year. It’s so much of a ritual that my dad flew all the way from Australia this last week to make sure he got to take part this year… That’s dedication.

Hi dad! Well, as Washington has been in an epic “drought” for the last 87 days, there was a burn ban in effect which severely dampened the spirit of the whole hutning/camping experience. But naturally, we all congregated around the campire circle as if nothing was amiss. It was just second nature. And really awkward.

Eveyrone shared jokes, as per usual and waited for the rain to hit so we could carry on with our day. This year we had another mission in mind – besides the hunting.

Throwing Gram off a moutain.

*Wait there is an explanation here, I promise.*

My great-grandma passed away about 4 and a half years ago and we’d waited all this time to spread her in the hills of the place we all loved. This place was a part of her, and by proxy became a part of all of us. So it only seemed fitting to toss her off the ridge she used to hunt all those years ago.

Dealing with the stress of pouring your dead great grandmother over a ridge is taxing – so naturally the only way to handle it is to perhaps, not-so-appropriately, make jokes about throwing Gram over a mountain. On the plus side, anytime anyone went to hunt up on her ridge, we figure she’d always know where the deer have been walking through and could always point them out to us.  We just can’t help it. And if we continued to be sad about her passing all these years later – we all concluded she would have ringed into our ears, “ohh you, Dummies!”

Typical Gram. And we miss her everyday.

But of course, as all great stories go, Murphy brought the hammer down on his law and decided  now was a great time to mess with us all and promptly end the 87 days of rainless weather – by POURING rain on us the night before we were going to take Gram up the mountain and do our family service. (I’m from Seattle, I know rain – This was Pouring.)

Really, Murph? Really? – Fair weather hunters we all must be, because waking up at 4am to go trudge up a moutain with a gun in hand and the ashes of your great grandmother strapped to your back wasn’t on anyone’s to-do list that morning.

So Gram will be staying with us until next year when we make our pilgrimage to Winthrop once again.

And there we sat around a fake fire hooked up to a propane tank with ceramic logs, in a circle, laughing, and eating chocolate covered shortbread, and carrying on just like we always did. Just like Gram instilled in us all these years later. Miss you Gram, my counterpart and family soul mate. I know you’re jitterbuggin’ up there somewhere.


Pistachio Shortbread

A butterly and flakey shortbread with pistachios and chocolate ganache

Yield: 16 Wedges

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes +1 Hour Cooling Time

Total Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes

PrintPrint Recipe


1/2 cup plain Oats
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
2/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
14 Tbsp Butter, cut into pieces 1/4" wide
1 cup Pistachios

Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup Semi Sweet chocolate Chips
4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Heavy Cream


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place oats in food processor and pulse until they become a fine powder. About 5 pulses. Set aside.
Place 3/4 cup of pistachios into food processor and pulse until they become almost powdery as well. Set aside in a small bowl. Repeat with last remaining 1/4 cup, but only pulse until they are small pieces. These will be the used as the pistachio coating on top of the chocolate ganache.
In stand mixer, place all dry ingredients including 3/4 cup fine ground pistachios. Turn mixer on low to combine. Add in butter and mix on low until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About 5 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a closed spring-form pan on top. Spread dough into spring-form pan, evenly. Unlock spring form pan but leave it in place on baking sheet. This will ensure the dough doesn't spread to far.
Using a round cookie cutter, remove a circle of the center of the shortbread dough. Set disk of dough outside the spring form pan and bake as directed.
Bake shortbread for 5 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove baking sheet from oven and remove spring-form pan from baking sheet. Using a sharp knife score the shortbread into 16 wedges. Place baking sheet with shortbread back into the oven. Turn OFF the oven, leaving shortbread in there to cool. Make sure the oven is propped slightly open to allow to cool. About 1 hour.
Place shortbread on cooling rack after one hour and allow to finish cooling to room temperature. Bread shortbread along the scored lines you created previously.
To make ganache, create a mock double-boiler with a small saucepan and heat resistent bowl. Place about 1 cup of water into the saucepan andcover with bowl. Heat water until it is just simmering. Add chocolate, heavy cream and butter to the bowl, and stir to combine as the chocolate and butter melt. Once the chocolate has just melted remove immediately from the heat. Dip each wedge of the shortbread into the chocolate and sprinkle remaining roughly chopped pistachios on top. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool and harden.
Repeat with remaining shortbread.

Adapted from Coconut Shortbread and America's Test Kitchen Shortbread.



55 Responses to “Pistachio Shortbread”

  1. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — October 15, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    This shortbread looks DELICIOUS.

  2. #
    Cassie — October 15, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    This looks amazing, and what a view! I love the ganache on the shortbread, totally perfect!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

      Thanks Cassie! I had to restrain myself not to devour more than I had before they made their way up to hunting camp. It was like a lion over a zebra – I couldn’t stop!

  3. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 15, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    I love the salty sweetness of this pistachio shortbread, Megan!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

      Sweet and salty combos are the stuff life is made of!! And this is the epitome of yum-town.

  4. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — October 15, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    These are gorgeous! I must make them soon!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

      Thanks Amanda! 🙂 They are worth making – very soon. Nothing is ever unfortunate when its dipped in chocolate.

  5. #
    Nicole @ Lapetitebaker — October 15, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    I love shortbread and these look killer!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

      Oh these are some insane shortbreads and totally worth every little cube of butter and extra minute on the treadmill. 🙂

  6. #
    Linda | The Urban Mrs — October 15, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    Glad to hear you got a chance to spend time with Dad. That’s true dedication. The same goes to this pistachio shortbread. I love buttery shortbread cookies *confession*, never occured to have this with pistachio. Yummy!!!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

      Go forth and make pistachio shortbread!! 🙂 It’s so totally worth it. Esp with chocolate.

  7. #
    Kathryn — October 15, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    Love these pictures and I love your story telling; I felt like I was there with you.

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

      Kathryn, you are so sweet. It was a great weekend and I’m so glad I could share a little bit of my family’s tradition with eveyrone. And these shortbreads, too. I am having cravings for more!

  8. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 15, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    Amazing shortbread bars! I will have to make these very, very soon! And your dad sounds so awesome.

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

      My dad is a pretty neato guy. And these are pretty dang neato shortbreads – I hope they’re a hit in your house Chung 🙂

  9. #
    Katie (The Muffin Myth) — October 15, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    We kept my grandpa in a shoebox on the mantle place for more years than I care to admit. People would walk in the house and we’d point him out so they could say hello. Eventually, when the conditions were right, he went under a tree on family property. I’m sure your grandma can hang on to go hunting with you another year 🙂

    These cookies look great! I love pistachios, these look right up my alley. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

      I love that you chatted with yoru grandpa in a shoebox! Gram gets chatted with, too. We bring her out of the closet to visit on the holidays. hahah

  10. #
    Katie @ The Hill Country Cook — October 15, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    Little did I know what I was in for as I waited to come to your blog to check out this recipe. Oh Gram…. lol, we actually did the same thing with both grandpa’s, waited and waited. Maybe Gram is excited y’all are having to make such a fuss over her, she’d be proud. In any case, shortbread looks delicious. Mighty fine, mighty fine. It’s giving me some good ideas…. maybe a chocolate hazelnut biscotti needs to be made soon… 🙂 peace, love, and gram ms. keno.

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

      LOL, Oh Gram is probably laughing her ass off at us thinking we’re just silly fussin’ over her. And you need to get to making pistachios things – making these and then biscotti top of your list!

  11. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — October 15, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    I LOVE pistachios! I used to eat them allll the time and then i looked at the fat content and was like uh not cool. This shortbread is so awesome – i love that you created a pistachio version with chocolate!! yum!! this pistachio talk reminds me of all the pistachio commercials – the most recent, the simpsons one with homer and bart hahaha

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

      Yeah – that darn fat content of nuts gets you every time. But at least it’s healthy fat and not a pound of bacon!

  12. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — October 15, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

    Oh man, your family sounds like mine with the inappropriate humour to lighten the mood 🙂 Beautiful place and beautiful shortbread!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

      Yeah, I feel inappropriate humor is the best way to deal with stress – why let the sads get you down, always best to laugh about it!

  13. #
    Rachel Cooks — October 16, 2012 @ 4:56 am

    Your family sounds crazy cool. Love the story, love the shortbread.

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      The family is pretty neat, if I do say so myself. 😉 And these shortbreads are absolutely tasty to the nth degree.

  14. #
    carrian — October 16, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    I think you all sound just like my family. Lots of love to you all.

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

      You just gotta love crazy families that joke about throwing their dead relative off a mountain haha. XO!

  15. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — October 16, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Awww what a sweet story, and your writing is so wonderful. This shortbread looks insanely delicious!!!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

      Aww Aimee, thanks so much for your sweet comment. Gram was a great person, I had to pay tribute to her somehow – with humor that I know she would appreciate. And that shortbread was a huge hit in at camp, I know it’ll be a big hit with your fam.

  16. #
    Janet Rudolph @ DyingforChocolate — October 16, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Wow.. nothing quite like chocolate dipped shortbread, and the pistachios will add crunch-texture and taste! Lovely story and recipe 🙂

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      Thanks Janet! I had never tried the pistachio/chocolate combo before, and I’m so glad it turned out! It’s going to be top of my list now 🙂

  17. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — October 16, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    My grandma has been gone 32 years and I think of her almost daily; she had such a spirit and loved a wonderful long life; I’m sure she would be saying much the same to us ‘dummies’ if we started to wax poetic but that was why she was so loved!

    I have been waiting for these. Could I have managed without your recipe? Probably. Did I want to…absolutely not; these look PERFECT!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      Oh Barbara you make me smile. Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s are just simply the best. I hope you like the shortbread, it was so good, I might actually make it again this weekend – and not give any way!

  18. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — October 16, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    Holy cow this is amazing. And what an incredible story!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

      Thanks Claire 🙂 That means a lot.

  19. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — October 16, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Megan!! That last shot is soooo MONEY! I love this… I’m making it to go with coffee for Thanksgiving (if I can wait that long!) great recipe my friend!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

      Thanks Laurie!! I hope it’s a hit at Thanksgiving. I figure if they were devoured by hungry hunters, they’re perfect for everyone.

  20. #
    Carlas Confections — October 16, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    Pistachio and chocolate are a killer combo! I love this. Looks amazing!

    • Megan replied: — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

      Thanks Carla! It was all devoured by everyone in camp. So I know it was a hit.

  21. #
    Shut Up & Cook — October 16, 2012 @ 12:11 pm


    No caveman t.v?!

    Good thing you had these shortbreads…they sound freaking delicious. Wishing I had one right now!

  22. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — October 16, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Wow what a beautiful place! And this shortbread looks amazing. What a lucky group of hunters 🙂

  23. #
    Peggy — October 16, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    How great of your family to have yearly rituals like this! And such a sweet story of your Gram – maybe she’s just meant to stay with you all just a tad bit longer =) This shortbread sounds mighty tasty too!

  24. #
    Kirsten — October 16, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    The whole hunting trip sounds absolutely awesome; fire-less fire-pit, rained out cliff tossing and all! Thank God for cookies and sarcasm to lighten the mood. My Grandma would have laughed at us, too. She’s still in a closet, and I can just hear her saying, “Oh just get ON with it already!” Of course the “Grandma really needs to ‘come out of the closet’ jokes are endless.

  25. #
    Cinnamon @ eatpraytri — October 16, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    I just moved away from Seattle and I miss it so much. Pouring rain or not 😉 14 tbsp of butter….that makes anything taste good. Shortbread is my weakness.

  26. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — October 18, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Love your stories! (and your recipes, this looks wonderful!)

    • Megan replied: — October 18th, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

      Aww, thanks Jen! 🙂

  27. #
    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings — October 20, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    what a beautiful treat! i love shortbread, and i love pistachios, and i love chocolate, too! this is just a dream for me!

  28. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — November 9, 2012 @ 6:49 am

    Fantastic. Amazing. Perfect. These are sooo delicious and tasty! Great recipe Megan!!

  29. #
    Donna — February 27, 2013 @ 5:21 am

    Prime pistachio post!!!…Major drooling going on here…Your photography is positively stunning…and love the “real-life”/real person photos and commentary. I am making these by this week-end at the very latest…I imagine they would be fantastic with a Lindt or Valhrona quality white chocolate as well….Splendid work!


  1. Pingback: Almond Shortbread Cookies | Jen's Favorite Cookies

  2. Pingback: Country Cleaver » {Bake Sale for Beka} Preview with Death by Chocolate Cookies

  3. Pingback: Country Cleaver » Bake Sale for Beka – Benefitting the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America

  4. Pingback: The Hill Country Cook » Chocolate Salted Caramel Shortbread

  5. Pingback: The Hill Country Cook » Hazelnut Chocolate Shortbread

  6. Pingback: Country Cleaver Blue Moon Orange Glazed Breakfast Beer Bread » Country Cleaver

Leave a Comment