The new lens for my camera arrived yesterday just as I was about to photograph these easy lemon pistachio shortbread cookies. I can’t imagine a more beautiful cookie to use my new lens on than these! Not only are these cookies beautiful looking, they’re also melt in your mouth delicious!
Pistachios add a pop of green and crunch, pomegranate seeds add a burst of color and juice and the lemon in the buttery dough and on the white chocolate give the cookies a fresh look and taste inside and out! They’re simple yet special and make the best Christmas cookies.
Being that it’s December and the season of exchanging cookies, I decided to make shortbread. Shortbread felt like the cookie to make since it’s a classic and has a distinct texture. The creamy white chocolate topping with pistachios, pomegranate and lemon zest on these buttery shortbreads seriously makes this the best lemon shortbread cookie recipe!
THESE SHORTBREAD COOKIES ARE:
- RICH AND BUTTERY (two sticks of butter plus powdered sugar, so you can imagine)
- TENDER AND CRUMBLY (they keep their shape, but crumble a little when you bite into them)
- MELT IN YOUR MOUTH (just bite into them and they’ll do the rest)
ABOUT THE DOUGH
This recipe can’t not taste good since it starts with two sticks of butter and some powdered sugar. The dough has a soft, play dough feel to it and is easy to shape into a log. Chill it for about two hours and then simply slice and bake it.
I was SO happy with this shortbread recipe, I used it to make these yummy shortbread cookies with mini chocolate chips. Definitely a must bake if you love chocolate and shortbread!
PRETTY AND DELICIOUS TOPPINGS
What makes these buttery lemon pistachio pomegranate cookies with white chocolate most amazing are the toppings! Since the cookies are buttery and a little crumbly, I wanted to dip them in something sweet and a little thick which led me to….white chocolate!
I also wanted to add a pop of color and some crunch. Cue the pistachios! Lemon zest adds a pretty, subtle color and hints at the zest in the dough. The pomegranate seeds add even more color along with a burst of juice!
MELTING THE CHOCOLATE
To prepare the white chocolate, set the microwave at 50% power and microwave for intervals of about 30 seconds.
Give it a stir it and if it’s not completely melted, microwave it a little longer until it’s smooth and melted.
I use raw, blanched, peeled, chopped pistachios. Blanching and peeling the pistachios gives them their extra bright, vibrant color. If you are short on time, you can skip the blanching and peeling steps. They will still be gorgeous.
To blanch pistachios, drop them in a little boiling water for about 30 seconds. Peeling the pistachios takes a little longer, but is worth the effort!
For pics of the blanching process and for another delicious recipe with pistachios, check out my post on Chocolate Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies. (Directions for blanching are also included in the recipe below).
I first had pomegranates while living in Morocco. It was impossible not to notice when they were in season because they were everywhere! I remember watching my friend Amina and her mom and aunts tearing into these gorgeous, juicy fruits and ripping out the seeds with their hands! There was juice allover, but the bowls full of pomegranates we had for dessert was definitely worth their effort!
I loved the idea of those fresh, juicy seeds on cookies. Luckily I had a pomegranate, so I cut it up and the seeds became an amazing, last-minute addition to my cookies!
HOW DO I CUT A POMEGRANATE?
Since we have new WHITE counter tops, I was more careful than usual cutting my pomegranate! Some people like to slice pomegranates in half, but I find this cuts a lot of seeds open and gets juice allover.
The best way that I’ve found to cut one is to first cut the stem end off just a little bit to where you see some of the seeds. You’ll notice that the pomegranate has natural ‘sections’ sort of like an orange. Score the outside of the pomegranate lengthwise along the sides of each section from the stem to the root.
Use your hands to carefully open the pomegranate. The seeds will all stay in tact and will be much easier to pop out. For step by step pictures on how to cut pomegranates, check out this post from delish.com.
FYI these little “sections” of poms make awesome additions to cheese boards! I love them as an alternative to more commonly used fruits like grapes.
HOW TO DECORATE THE COOKIES
Before dipping them in the chocolate, run your fingers around the edges of the cookies. This will cause any loose crumbs to fall off before dipping them in the chocolate.
I typically coat them about 1/3 of the way, but they also look nice coated 1/2 way. I dredge just the top part of the cookie through a somewhat shallow bowl of chocolate and coat just the top.
If you want the top and bottom parts of your cookies coated, put the melted in a cup and dip rather than dredge the cookie in it.
Set the cookies on a rack to dry. (I dredge 3-4 at a time then add the rest of the toppings and continue until I’m finished). You’ll want to add the rest of the toppings right away before the white chocolate is set.
I use a mini grater to zest the lemon directly over the white chocolate. This helps distribute the zest more evenly rather than having it clump together if I drop it on with my fingers.
Once your cookies are dipped and sprinkled with lemon zest and pistachios, gently press some pomegranate seeds into the white chocolate!
Loaded with flavor, texture, and color, these lemon pistachio shortbread cookies with white chocolate are a must try at any holiday cookie swap or party! I’m also planning on making them for Valentine’s Day!
Next time I make them, I might cover the entire cookie with the toppings for more of that amazing flavor combination of the white chocolate, lemon zest, pistachios and pomegranates!
FOR MORE DELICIOUS COOKIE RECIPES, TRY MY:
- TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CRINKLE COOKIES
- OLD FASHIONED PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
- ORANGE ALMOND DARK CHOCOLATE COOKIES
These easy, buttery, melt in your mouth lemon pistachio pomegranate shortbread cookies with white chocolate are crumbly, rich and bursting with flavor! Perfect for Christmas or anytime of the year!
FOR THE COOKIES
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE TOPPING
- 4 ounces white chocolate
- 1 teaspoon shortening (optional)
- 1/4 cup raw pistachios, blanched, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
FOR THE COOKIES
- Sift together the flour and salt and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice followed by the egg yolk. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter top and form the dough into a 10 inch log. Roll it in plastic wrap and chill the dough for about 2 hours or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cookie dough into rounds about 1/4″ in size. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 ” apart and bake 10-12 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes then transfer them to racks to cool completely.
FOR THE PISTACHIOS
- While the cookie dough is chilling, shell the pistachios and blanch them in a pan of boiling water for 30-40 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer pistachios to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Blot them dry on some paper towels. Rub the skins of the pistachios one by one between your fingers to remove the skins. Place skinless pistachios on paper towels to dry. Once all skins have been removed, lightly blot the pistachios with paper towels to dry then finely chop them.
FOR THE TOPPING
- Once the cookies are baked, melt the white chocolate and shortening (if using). Set your microwave to 50% power and heat the white chocolate and shortening in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Give it a stir between intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Dip or dredge 1/3 or 1/2 of each cookie in the chocolate. Use the side of the bowl or a small spatula to gently wipe away excess chocolate from the bottom or edge of the cookie. Place on a wire rack placed over some parchment paper or a baking sheet (this will catch the chocolate that may drip).
- Immediately zest the lemon over the cookie and garnish with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Allow the cookies to set about 30 minutes.
Blanching and peeling the pistachios is an optional step. Add about 15 minutes to the prep time if you plan to blanch and peel them.