Cherry-Pistachio Shortbread Cookies including Gluten-Free version!

posted in: Cookbooks, Recipes, Slice O'Life | 4

Not even eight years old and already my kid’s got girls making him buy shit — his friend Megan is selling Girl Scout cookies and last night he casually asked me if we could buy some.

I want some chocolate and mint ones.  They’re only $3.50 a box!”  (yeah, for like twelve!)

“Oh, you mean Thin Mints?  I love those… “

“HOW DID YOU KNOW???”

*** I’ve still got my son believing I  am a magical and omniscient being.  I haven’t let on that I know all these things because I, too, was once seven years old.  I’m riding this wave until it breaks.

“Dude!  When I sold them they were $1.50!”  

“Wow, Mom.  You’re old….”

Tomorrow he gets 7 bucks.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Is there anyone who DOESN’T like cookies?  I can’t say I know anyone, and I’ll be damned if there’s an empty hand any time I bring a new creation out to the barn.   Can you imagine not being able to eat a freshly baked cookie that someone gives you because one of the main ingredients will make you sick?

For those affected by gluten issues, that is exactly the case.  It wasn’t something I really thought about until my dear friend Irene discovered her gluten intolerance a few years ago.  I’ve thought about delving into the world of gluten-free baking but never had until a few weeks ago.  I picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour blend vowing to make Irene some cookies that would make her squeal.

You should hear her; it’s so cute with a Joisey accent!

I’d also been toying with the idea of dried cherries and pistachios as cookie add-ins.  Tell me how creative that is or how amazing it sounds and I’ll tell you this creation was merely the result of a can of shelled ‘stachios and a bag of dried cherries falling off a shelf when I was going to make The Boy breakfast one morning.

Alas, the birth of Cherry-Pistachio Shortbread!  This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.

Cherry-Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened/room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar (light, dark, whatevah ya got)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (add apricots, too – yum!)
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
vanilla sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 300° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.  If you don’t want parchment, it’s ok, don’t bother greasing the pans.  In a large mixing bowl, cream softened butter for about 30 seconds.


Add sugar and beat until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed of a stand mixer.   Add vanilla extract and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, toss together flour, salt, dried fruit and nuts.  Coating the dried fruit with flour keeps the bits from sticking together.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat just until completely mixed.


Turn dough out onto a piece of parchment and shape into a 9″x3″ rectangle.  Wrap completely in parchment and refrigerate for 1 hour (of course you may leave it overnight, just be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.)


Unwrap log and using a sharp knife, cut into slabs between 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick.  You will get about 2 dozen slabs.


Arrange on cookie sheets at least an inch apart.  Bake cookies for approximately 15 – 20 minutes or until just barely golden. 

Remove sheets from oven and let cool a few minutes on racks, then remove from sheets and cool completely.  These cookies will keep fresh  in an airtight container for a week or more.


Gluten-Free version:
Same basic recipe except you’ll want to sub the above-pictured baking flour for all-purpose flour.  Would it work with another type?  Maybe.  Try it and let me know.

Instead of forming a log and cutting the dough, form small balls using a cookie scoop.  Drop the balls into a bowl of vanilla (or plain granulated) sugar.

Roll balls completely in sugar then place on parchment lined (important with these!) cookies sheets.  Press balls flat using a measuring cup or glass.

Bake the gluten-free cookies for about 13 minutes.  They will BARELY brown around the edges.  The gluten-free baking flour creates a very crumbly cookie.  Any overbaking and these cookies will immediately self-destruct when you try to remove them from the pan so BE CAREFUL!  Allow to cool completely on the pan then remove from parchment and store in an airtight container.

Package the cookies nicely but please do remember to handle them gently,  then deliver to your favorite gluten-intolerant pal.

Sit back and wait for praise 🙂

4 Responses

  1. Wouldn’t you know I have ALL the ingredients around to make either the regular version OR the gluten-free? Dang you, Kasha, LOL.

  2. I just started making these and noticed you say to mix in salt with flour, but none is listed in recipe. I can wing it. They sound so yummy!

    • OH NO!!!! I would have looked at the recipe a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t messing it up 🙁 I’m so sorry! Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the flour. Thanks for calling it to my attention, Laura 🙂

      • No problem! I just saw your reply because I’m making them again this year since they were so good. Thanks for sharing recipe.

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