You will love the flavors in this delicious Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread recipe. In each bite, you get the crumbly, buttery blend of rich chocolate shortbread with crunchy green pistachios. These cute little treats are topped with a smooth chocolate drizzle, chopped pistachios and flake salt for a perfect balance between sweet and salty.
This chocolate shortbread is delicious with a cup of coffee, as a fancy dessert treat or even a quick little snack. You can even package them up with a pretty bow to give as a sweet present for chocolate and pistachio lovers.
I love this recipe for it's simplicity and the ease in which you could customize it to suit a specific holiday or special occasion. Swapping out the nuts and toppings that get sprinkled on top is easy and makes this a suitable sweet treat for nearly any occasion! I know I'll be making these for the holiday season and adding some crushed candy canes to the top for a festive treat.
For more chocolate recipes, try my: Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Applesauce or Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- It is delicious. The rich chocolate flavored shortbread combined with the nutty pistachios and sweet chocolate drizzle is a combination of flavors and textures that is perfectly balanced. The flake salt sprinkled on adds to that balance and leaves you wanting just one more bite!
- It is easy to make. This is a simple recipe to make, but the end result is impressive and beautiful. You can easily impress others with this recipe because of its stunning appearance its ability to stand out from the average sweet treat.
- You can customize it to your liking. Not only can you choose to serve this in a variety of different settings and occasions, but you can also customize the nuts and toppings to suit your preferences. The type of drizzle and what you choose to sprinkle on top can be adjusted to match specific holiday flavors or special occasions.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients needed for this shortbread cookie recipe. Find all the ingredients at your local grocery store or an online retailer, like Amazon.
- Pistachios: I like to use roasted lightly salted shelled pistachios.
- Cocoa powder: Use Dutch process cocoa powder for the best color and flavor.
- Vanilla extract
- Melting chocolate: I prefer to use Guittard bittersweet chocolate baking wafers. I love the way it dries super smooth and shiny and the flavor is great.
- Flake salt: My favorite flake salt to use for all the things is Maldon sea salt flakes.
Substitutions & Variations
Pistachios: Instead of pistachios, you can use other nuts like almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts to create different flavor profiles. You could also toast the nuts for added depth of flavor.
Vanilla: Use almond extract or mint extract instead of vanilla.
Melting chocolate: Try a caramel or white chocolate drizzle. You could try these in addition to the chocolate drizzle or swap it out entirely.
Toppings: Instead of sprinkling with the chopped pistachios and flake salt, try coconut, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, toffee, candied nuts, candied citrus peel, sprinkles, crushed cookies, cocoa nibs, crushed candy canes, or chopped caramel.
Additions: Experiment with different flavorings for the shortbread, such as adding a teaspoon of espresso powder for a mocha twist or a hint of orange zest or lemon zest for a citrusy kick.
This recipe has not been tested with these substitutions or variations. If you give any of these a try, please let me know how it worked out in the comments below!
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make these chocolate pistachio shortbread cookies. For the full ingredient list and instructions, see the recipe card below. For this recipe you will need: a 9-inch square cake pan, parchment paper, pastry roller, toothpicks, and a wire rack.
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with a parchment paper sling.
How to make a parchment paper sling: Cut a piece of parchment paper that is slightly longer than the width of your pan. Spray your pan with cooking spray, lay the parchment paper in the pan, pressing it along the bottom and up the sides, allowing the excess to hang over the edge.
STEP 2: In the bowl of your food processor, add the pistachios and pulse until they are finely ground and then transfer them to a medium mixing bowl.
STEP 3: Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt to the pistachios. Stir until well combined.
STEP 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
STEP 5: Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until combined.
STEP 6: Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Using a small pastry roller or your hands, press the dough into the bottom of the pan making sure to get it all the way to the corners and edges.
STEP 7: Place the pan in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is firm.
STEP 8: Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 strips. Using a toohpick, poke three evenly spaced holes in each strip.
STEP 9: Bake in the preheated oven for 35-37 minutes, or until set and slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediatly trace back over the cut marks with your knife. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.
STEP 10: Using the parchment paper sling, lift the bars out of the pan and separate them into bars. Place them, close together on a wire cooling rack with a piece of parchment paper or a baking sheet underneath.
STEP 11: Melt the melting chocolate according to package instructions.
STEP 12: Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the shortbread. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and flake salt. Allow to set at room temperature for several hours.
Here are some tips for making these buttery shortbread cookies perfectly each time.
- If you do not have toothpicks, use a fork to make holes in the shortbread strips before baking.
- Be sure to chill the dough before cutting it into strips. This helps to get straight, even lines.
- For a precise and elegant chocolate drizzle, use a piping bag or a zip top bag with a corner snipped off instead of a spoon.
- If you do not have a wire rack, place the shortbread on a sheet of parchment paper before drizzling with melted chocolate.
- Instead of drizzling the melted chocolate, dip half of the shortbread into the melted chocolate for a different look!
- To speed up the chocolate setting process, place the shortbread in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
Pricking the bars with a toothpick prevents the shortbread from puffing up while baking. This allows the shortbread to develop its signature dense and crumbly texture.
For this recipe, you could use either salted or unsalted butter. I prefer salted butter because I like the bit of added saltiness. If you are trying to be mindful of your salt intake or you just prefer unsalted butter over salted, it is an easy swap here.
While it is necessary to chill the dough to get clean and prescise cuts, it will not effect the flavor at all. If you are short on time, feel free to skip this step, but understand that you may not get the strips cut as straight as you might with cold dough.
Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to one week.
Freeze in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before serving.
Other Recipes to Try
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Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread
- 3 tablespoons pistachios plus more for the top
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 6 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces melting chocolate
- Flake salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square cake pan with cooking spray and line with a parchment paper sling.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the pistachios and pulse until pistachios are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.3 tablespoons pistachios
- Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt to the pistacho mixture. Stir well until combined.1 ½ cups flour, 6 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.¾ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Using a small pastry rolling pin or your hands, press the dough into the bottom, making sure to get to the edges and corners.
- Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is slightly firm.
- Using a knife, cut the dough into 24 strips. Using a toothpick, prick each strip 3-4 times.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-37 minutes, or until set and slighly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately trace back over the cut marks with the knife. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.
- Lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper sling and separate them into bars and place them close together on a wire rack with a sheet of pachment paper underneath.
- Melt the chocolate according to package instructions. Using a spoon, carefully drizzle the tops with the melted chocolate, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and flake salt. Allow the chocolate to set before eating.10 ounces melting chocolate, Flake salt