Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Chocolate Pistachio Slices #Christmas Cookies from Leslie Budewitz

LESLIE: Part of the magic of the holidays is our food traditions – the cookies or fruitcake or cocktails we indulge in just once a year. They are more special because of their rarity and their association with a particular relative or friend, an annual party, or a favorite restaurant in a city we visit only during the season. 

Occasionally, though, it’s fun to try something new. I’m of the opinion that a Christmas cookie should be one we don’t make in March or June, with yummy ingredients like peppermint, nuts, or candied fruit, and maybe a festive appearance, too. 

These cookies fit the bill. They’re based on a recipe in Good Housekeeping called “Choco-Nutty Slice & Bakes,” which sounds like a runaway from the cereal aisle, though I’ve revised the directions quite a bit. 

Recently, on my Facebook page, we talked about chilling dough before baking. According to this article from Taste, chilling the dough for even 30 minutes before baking makes for less spreading, more browning, and a tastier, chewier cookie. Turns out that more fully hydrating the flour and other dry ingredients really can make a difference. 

In a slice-and-bake cookie, chilling also firms up the log of dough and makes it easier to slice. More than once, though, I’ve chilled the specified time and found the dough too hard and crumbly. Not these, I’m happy to report. The recipe recommends at least an hour in the fridge, but I got busy cleaning for a holiday party and the dough remained firm but easy to work with even after close to two hours. My guess is that it’s because of the relatively low amount of flour and the extra fat in the cocoa powder. 

Admittedly, the logs aren’t attractive before they’re rolled in the chopped nuts, but they come out looking and tasting great. A new tradition? Maybe – I’ll let you know next year!

Happy Holidays to you and yours. And if Christmas isn’t your thing, no big deal. As my pal Krista says, whatever you celebrate, invite me and I will share in your joy!

Chocolate Pistachio Slices

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 large egg
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
 In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg and beat until well combined, about another minute. Slowly add the flour and cocoa mixture and mix, on low speed, just until combined. 

Divide dough in half. Shape into an oblong and place on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, and use the paper to help you shape it into a log, about 8 inches long and 1-1/2 to 2 inches around. Spread half the chopped nuts on the paper, next to the log, and roll log to evenly coat. Repeat with the second log. Wrap them tightly and chill at least 1 hour. (If you want to bake half the cookies later, freeze one log.)

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicon sheet or parchment paper. Slice dough 1/4-inch- thick and place of baking sheets. Bake until the tops of the cookies lose most of their spring, about 11 to 13 minutes. Leave on baking sheets to firm up, about 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Makes about 4 dozen. Enjoy!

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." --- Kirkus Reviews

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink,  available in trade paper, e-book, and audio):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. The cookies sound great! How can you go wrong with chocolate and pistachio?

    1. Right? And when I found this recipe, I even had half a cup of pistachios in the pantry!

  2. The green of the nuts against the chocolatey brown looks great.
    Bet it taste great, too!

  3. Two of my favorite things - chocolate and pistachios!