If you always choose salty over sweet, you’ll fall hard for this recipe for salted pistachio shortbread from Alison Roman’s new cookbook, Sweet Enough. It’s a seven-ingredient snack that’s salty and crumbly in all the right ways, and would be equally lovely as a dessert or on a cheese board.
“This is a sturdy shortbread cookie, unapologetically nutty, appealing to anyone who wants ‘a little sweet something’ without committing to a classically dessert-y cookie,” she explains. “For those who don’t want to shell a million pistachios—please don’t!—shelled pistachios are widely available in the bulk section of any store that has one, and increasingly more popular as a packaged good.”
If you can’t find pistachios (or you just don’t like them), feel free to use any of the other nuts Roman suggests below—either raw or roasted, but always unsalted, since there’s plenty of salt in the dough.
Black Sesame Shortbread
Cooking spray or softened butter, for the pan
¾ cup (95g) pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
½ cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1 stick (115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
¾ cup (110g) all-purpose flour
Flaky sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan or tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray or softened butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, process the pistachios until finely ground. Remove 2 tablespoons and set aside.
3. Add the powdered sugar, butter and salt to the food processor and pulse until well combined. Add the flour and process until a slightly sticky dough forms (if your food processor is having trouble and the dough still looks “sandy,” just dump the dough out onto a counter and mix it by hand until a dough forms—it will come together!).
4. Press the dough into the prepared pan into an even layer (you can use your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup) and sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons ground pistachios and some flaky salt.
5. Bake until the cookie is just golden around the edges and dough is baked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Once the cookie is out of the oven, remove it from the pan. Dust it with more powdered sugar, if you like. While the dough is still warm (but not too hot to handle), slice the cookie into 24 thin wedges (start by cutting the round into quarters, then slice each quarter in half, then each half into thirds to get nice, thin triangles).
7. Cool the cookies completely before transferring them (they will be soft and easily broken if moved before cooled).
Roman suggests pairing the shortbread with a good runny, soft, creamy cheese, a bowl of Castelvetrano olives and a glass of chilled sherry.
The dough can be made 5 days ahead, tightly wrapped and refrigerated. The cookies can be baked 3 days ahead and stored airtight at room temperature.