Green is for lettuce, our crunchy companion whose color ranges from the pale pearl-green of an iceberg heart to the deep forest-green of romaine’s outer shell. Green is for fresh garden peas, steamed to bring out both flavor and color. But green is NOT for cookies—unless it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Ah, but then, lads and mavourneens, green is for everything from beer to body paint—AND cookies.

When I was growing up, good Irish-Catholic girl that I was, I always wore green on St. Paddy’s Day. Which was a challenge, green never having been a favorite color. But even if it was simply the ribbons in my braids, I HAD to wear green; it was a family decree.

Still, that didn’t mean I had to EAT green. Lettuce, OK. Peas…. questionable. A gray-green blob of steamed cabbage alongside pallid boiled onions and a fatty chunk of corned beef? No thanks. The green Jell-O with ReddiWip for dessert was scant payback for what had come before. But neither was Jell-O very special; orange, red, green, it was still Jell-O, and I’ve always been more of a cookie person.

Thus, green cookies. There are two obvious flavor directions to go: lime, and pistachio. Our Key Lime Snowball Cookies are delightful, but not green. If you’re looking for cookies that shout St. Pat’s, choose these Pistachio Cookies. The creamy green of pistachio ice cream, with similar bright flavor, these nut-studded treats are the perfect sweet coda to any St. Patrick’s Day meal — even one that includes the dreaded boiled cabbage!


Beat together butter, sugar, and vegetable oil; the mixture will look very creamy.


Add the egg and water...


Whoops—now it looks curdled. Don't panic; it's OK.


Keep beating, and it becomes creamy again.


Add the salt, baking powder, pistachio flavor, and pistachio instant pudding: instant color change. Now you can see where these cookies are going.


Coarsely crush the shelled pistachios. Put ’em in a heavy-duty plastic bag (leave a corner unsealed), and pound with a rolling pin or other heavy object .


Add the nuts and flour to the mixture in the bowl...


...and beat to make a lovely green dough.


Scoop onto baking sheets. A tablespoon cookie scoop makes short work (and lovely round balls) of the dough.


Flatten the cookies a bit, if desired; I like to use the pusher from our test kitchen food processor, as it makes a pretty spiral pattern in the finished cookies.


Here they are baked without having been flattened; not flattening makes a taller cookie.


And here they are, flattened before baking. Note the nice design on top. Enjoy these Pistachio Cookies with officemates, family, and friends; EVERYONE is an honorary Irishman on St. Patrick's Day!

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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