These pistachio and lemon cream sandwich cookies are helping me bridge the gap between winter and spring.
Spring is in the air.
The days are getting longer. We’re already talking about grilling. The birds are singing at an early hour that can only be described as indecent. Even as I write this, I can hear the happy screams of kids from the elementary school around the corner enjoying the outdoor freedom that comes with slightly warmer weather.
But somehow I already miss winter a little. Does anyone else feel this way? I always feel a little sad to leave the bundled goodness of winter–so cozy and safe. I tend to mourn the end of any season a little bit. I hope for a bit more of that thing that made it so special to me, whether that’s bundling up for a walk in the snow or sitting in a beer garden and watching the sun set at 10pm. But I’ll adjust to spring and be grateful that if I forget to turn a radiator on, it won’t result in waking up in a house that needs to be thawed. And when summer rolls around I’ll mourn the loss of spring a little and try to remember all the good things that summer will bring. Such is life.
Food always helps mend my seasonal transition melancholia. I try to focus on the goodness of what each next season will bring. This time around I’m focused on the brightness of rhubarb, asparagus, radishes, & sorrel.
Until those start pouring in to the markets, I’m brightening up my baking with some pistachio and lemon cream sandwich cookies. Citrus is the perfect winter produce to usher us into spring. Blood oranges and lemons and grapefruit come at the point in winter that our palates crave bright flavors and all the citrus continues to brighten our palates and plates while that spring produce matures.
These pistachio and lemon cream sandwich cookies are pretty, bright, and just look like spring to me with their drizzly lemon icing and green pistachios. The nutty richness of the pistachio in a shortbread cookie is addicting and pairs perfectly with the soft tangy buttercream.
Here’s to brighter and lighter flavors and finding things to be excited about in the new season.
If you like these Pistachio and Lemon Cream Sandwich Cookies, you might also like:
Pistachio and Lemon Cream Sandwich Cookies
- 2/3 cup toasted pistachios
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus a little for dusting the surface
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lemon Buttercream Filling
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- pinch of fine sea salt
icing and Decoration
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios chopped
For the Cookies:
Whiz up 2/3 cup of toasted pistachios in the food processor until finely ground, about 8-10 pulses should do it. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sea salt, and ground pistachios.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla mix until fully combined, about a minute.
With your mixer on low, slowly add in the flour/pistachio mix, in two or three additions. Once all the flour mixture is added, increase the speed to medium and mix until just combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and split the dough in two. Press each half into a disk, about one inch thick and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate both disks for at least one hour and up to one day.
When you're ready to back the cookies, preheat the oven to 375* and take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes (the longer you've left it in the fridge, the longer you'll probably need to let it sit on the counter) so that it's easier to work with. Meanwhile, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface and with a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8" thickness. Using a floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter, cut out the cookies and place on baking sheet. Gently press the leftover scraps of dough together and re-roll the dough and cut out more cookies.*
Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until the cookies are set around the edges and lightly golden, rotating once during baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat the baking process with the second tray of cookies.
For the Lemon Buttercream Filling:
Beat together the butter and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
For the Icing:
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. This should be enough juice. It will look dry at first and like you need to add more, but resisted this temptation! Just keep stirring. You want it to be thin enough to drip from the spoon so that you can easily decorate the cookies, but thick enough so that it doesn't just slid off the cookies.
Once completely cooled, spread (or use a piping bag) half the cookies with about 1 tablespoon of the buttercream. Top with a second cookie. Drizzle one side of each sandwich cookie with the lemon icing topping and sprinkle the chopped toasted pistachios. Allow the icing to set completely and enjoy!
*I bake one sheet of cookies at a time so that they bake as evenly as possible. You can go ahead and fill the second baking sheet and just put it in the fridge to keep cool until the first batch comes out of the oven.