I’d never had rose water cookies until I lived in France. There was a Middle Eastern bakery on one of the popular streets in Orleans, right across from a bar that my friends and I would go to. One night, I got hungry after I started drinking and I saw that the bakery was still open. My friend and I decided to go inside.
Walking through the door was a little like stepping into a different world. There was sitar music playing, you could smell mint tea and behind a glass case, there were rows and rows of colorful cookies, all tiny and delicately shaped. There were also stacks of Turkish delight, vibrantly colored and dusted with powdered sugar. I remember saying to my friend, how am I going to choose? In the end, I think we just got one of everything.
I still miss that shop in France, and I’ve had trouble finding something similar in the U.S. And I never forgot the rose water pistachio cookies I tried there. So this weekend, I decided to try to recreate them.
Rose water is so fragrant and sweet, it’s almost like a perfume. But don’t worry–it’s not so perfume-y that putting it in cookies doesn’t make sense. Once you bake the cookies the flavor becomes more subtle, and the pistachio balances out the sweetness.
The original recipe calls for baking the cookies at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, but I found that was too short. I ended up increasing the heat to 350 degrees, and it took around 25 minutes for them to bake. But if you start with a higher temp and check them often, I bet you can bake them for around 15 minutes.
Pistachio Rose Water Shortbread Cookies (adapted slightly from here)
1¾ cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. salt
1½ sticks of unsalted butter (cut in cubes)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ Tbsp. rosewater
1 Tbsp. water
½ cup pistachios
Combine flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times until well blended.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until the mixture begins to form a ball.
Remove from food processor and place on a lightly floured surface. Bring together into a large ball.
Cut ball into two equal parts.
Roll out each part into a 9″ log that’s about 1 inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours (or overnight if you want to).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut cookies into ½ inch circles, place on a greased baking sheet and bake approximately 12-15 minutes or until they appear golden brown on the edge.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar after they cool.