Salted Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Slice and Bake Cookies
I had plenty of pistachios leftover from my pistachio cake adventuring, I love the combination of dark chocolate and pistachios, and I needed cookies to bring to our neighbor's backyard party. The pieces fell into place naturally and the result was one of the best cookies I've ever made.
What makes them so great? Sit back, let's have a chat.
UNIQUE COOKIE STYLE
These salted pistachio chocolate chunk slice & bake cookies are adapted from my favorite slice & bake cookie base, a cookie I've treasured for years. Toasted hazelnut slice & bake cookies started it all (pictured below), then I moved to funfetti slice & bake cookies and dark chocolate orange slice & bake cookies. I even published a chocolate version, a maple walnut version, and a vanilla spice version in Sally's Cookie Addiction. Yes, I'm in love with the slice & bake cookie.
Want to read more about this unique cookie dough? Here's where it all started.
Let's get back to today's cookie recipe though. Instead of dunking into chocolate like my typical slice & bake cookies, I added chocolate chunks directly to the cookie dough. I also used all brown sugar for flavor and sweetening, more salt, more vanilla, lots of chopped pistachios, and rolled the cookie dough in coarse sugar and leftover pistachio pieces. They're not chocolate chip cookies, they're better.
HERE'S WHY THEY'RE AWESOME
- Basic ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, egg
- There's no leavener, so the cookies are extra dense inside
- Very easy, 1 bowl recipe
- Thick. Thick. Thick.
- Sweet and salty
- The texture is unique, similar to shortbread. Crunchy crumbly edges, soft centers
- So buttery!!
- Make ahead. Make the dough, roll into logs, chill for up to 5 days, slice and bake when craving hits
- Pools of melted chocolate
More on that whole pools of melted chocolate thing: use chocolate chunks that you chop up from a chocolate bar. If you're going to spend money on good chocolate, this recipe is when to do it. Baking chocolate is excellent here; it's sold right next to the chocolate chips. I like using bittersweet or dark chocolate. Use whatever chocolate you love. The wonderful thing about using pure chocolate is that your warm cookies have soft melted chocolate inside, not chunks of chocolate chips.
SLICE & BAKE METHOD
The cookie dough is a little sticky, but you should be able to mold into a ball. Here's a helpful note: your cookie dough will be too sticky if you started with too-soft butter. Make sure the butter is room temperature, not melted in the slightest. Use my trick for softening butter quickly or set it out (along with the egg!) 1 hour prior to beginning. Butter is ready to use when you can neatly and easily cut a knife through it.
Cut the cookie dough ball in half, shape into 2 logs, roll each log into a mixture of coarse sugar and chopped pistachios, wrap them up in plastic wrap, and chill for 3 hours.
Let me explain that. I divide the cookie dough in half and roll into 2 logs so that they're easier to roll in coarse sugar/pistachios and so they chill faster in the refrigerator.
After chilling, unwrap the cold cookie dough logs and slice cookies. Now they're ready to bake! Since the cookie dough slices are extremely cold, your cookies won't overspread in the oven.
Sometimes the chocolate chunks are too hard for easy slicing, leaving some empty spots in cookies. Not a problem. My recipe below leaves a few chocolate chunks aside that you can stick back into the sliced cookies.
Next you can break out your freshly cleaned silicone baking mats, arrange 12 cookies onto each baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Then bake!
Our friends called these "the fancy cookies" and while they definitely have an upgraded taste and texture, they're not complicated. If you've tried my other slice & bake cookies, you know they're pretty low key.
If I had to chose, I think the crunchy edges would be my favorite part. Buttery, dense, crumbly, salty, sweet, and oh-so-perfect. I guess they really are fancy!
Salted Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Slice & Bake Cookies
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces (170g) chocolate, coarsely chopped*
- 3/4 cup (75g) finely chopped pistachios, divided*
- coarse sugar for rolling (I use sugar in the raw brand)
- sea salt for sprinkling on top
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined. On low speed, beat in the flour and salt until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to high speed and beat in most of the chocolate (leave a few chunks aside for step 4) and 2/3 cup of the pistachios until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don't have to be exact. Roll each log in a mix of coarse sugar and the leftover pistachios. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine for 4 hours or even overnight-- the colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (The chocolate chunks in the cookie dough will be very hard and may not slice, leaving gaps in some cookies. Press any extra chunks you set aside in step 1 into the tops, if needed.) If desired, sprinkle each with sea salt.
- Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.
Make ahead tip: Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. You can make/assemble the cookie dough logs and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (see step 2). Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
You can find 4 ounce chocolate baking bars in the baking aisle. You'll need 1.5 of them. (Save the other 1/2 of a bar for your next batch!) I like using Ghirardelli or Baker's brand. You can use milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate, whichever you prefer. I use bittersweet.
Pistachios: you can use salted or unsalted. This would depend on how salty you want your cookies. I use salted. If you're using a sweet chocolate, like milk chocolate or white chocolate, maybe salted pistachios are the way to go. If you want a sweeter cookie, unsalted is your best bet. If you want a super dark chocolate, wonderfully salty cookie with a little sweetness, use salted. Depends on your tastebuds!
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