Pistachio Cookies with White Chocolate Ganache, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on December 13, 2010

Today’s cookie comes with a tale of a Twitter friendship. I know I’ve discussed it before, but I really like Twitter. It’s fun, interesting, a source of information, news, and yes, gossip. It’s also a place to form friendships. As you know from past posts, I’ve met many folks on Twitter that have become friends IRL (in real life). One of these people is the delightful Cathy Barrow, also known as Mrs. Wheelbarrow on Twitter and on her website, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen.

Cathy is a super fun and funny woman who shares my passions for cooking, baking, and canning. She’s also a talented landscape designer who offered to be our tour guide of the grounds of the National Cathedral while we were in Washington, DC (her hometown) last spring. Cathy and I have something of a jet-setting friendship–we’ve now met up in DC and in New York City. I’m thinking next we should meet up in Paris–what do you say, Cathy? (heh)

Anyway, last week Cathy asked if I wanted to do a joint cookie post on our sites, where she would post the wheat version of the cookie and I would post the gluten-free version of the cookie. Of course I did–so fun!  And here it is!   The cookie’s original name is Kaki’s Favorite Pistachio Cookies. Her name for the same cookies on her site is Pistachio Sand Dabs–love it!

I have to admit, generally I’m not a huge fan of almond extract. So, when I read the recipe and saw that it required 1 TBL of almond extract, I was skeptical. Cathy assured me that it is terrific in this recipe. And you know what? She’s right. The almond extract lends a rounded floral component to the cookies, which is lovely. Also, the cookies also have a wonderful white chocolate ganache glaze that is sprinkled with more chopped pistachios and a bit of gourmet salt. The original recipe calls for Himalayan Pink Salt, but I didn’t have that, so I used Maldon flaked sea salt. It was delish! The salt on the finish is perfect foil to the sweet of the cookie. I brought these to a gathering last night and everyone loved them!

These are a perfect addition to my holiday cookie rotation. I can’t wait to make more!

Pistachio Cookies with White Chocolate Ganache, Gluten-Free
-adapted from a recipe by Mrs. Wheelbarrow
-makes 3-4 dozen, depending upon how big you make your cookies

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is quite helpful, but a hand mixer will do in a pinch

Note: this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)

Ingredients
For the Cookies
1 C (2 sticks; 8oz; 230g) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C (85g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
2 C (280g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 C (120g) finely chopped pistachios (the recipe calls for raw, but I used unsalted roasted nuts)
1 TBL (yes, TBL) almond extract

For the White Chocolate Ganache Glaze
10 oz white chocolate, chopped (be careful, many white chocolates contain gluten. I used Ghirardelhi white chocolate baking bars.  Don’t use the chips because they may contain barley malt)
1/2 C (120ml) heavy cream
2-3 TBL extra chopped pistachios
a few pinches of Himalayan Pink Salt (I used Maldon Flake Sea Salt but you can also use plain ole salt)

To Make the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract and beat a bit more. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Add the pistachios and beat until the nuts are well distributed.

Using a scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop out blobs of dough and shape them into balls with your hands. Place on baking sheets about 1″ apart.

Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes–until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the White Chocolate Ganache
Place the chopped white chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small, heavy saucepan heat the cream over medium low heat until reaches barely a simmer–watch carefully and don’t let it burn. Once it hits a simmer, remove from heat and pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute to melt the chocolate. After a minute, using a whisk, mix the chocolate and the cream together until smooth.

Dip the top of each cookie into the ganache and set back on the wire rack to drip and set. Before the ganache hardens, sprinkle the tops of each with some of the extra chopped nuts and the salt.

Enjoy!
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