Sunday, December 19, 2010

For the Sophisticated Santa: Pistachio Orange Cocktail Cookies and a Martini

After winning one of the top ten spots in POM Wonderful Dinner Party Contest last month, we prepared Thanksgiving dinner, photographed and attended the annual Epilepsy Foundation's Gingerbread City Gala, organized a neighborhood Holiday Progressive Party, and catered a private party. This week, we're having our law firm Christmas luncheon, and have been invited to a traditional German Christmas Eve Dinner Party and a Christmas Day Elf Party! Whew...'Tis the season! When am I going to squeeze in my Christmas shopping??

I served these savory Pistachio-Orange Cocktail Cookies at the party we catered last Friday night. David Leite has quite a collection of interesting entertaining recipes on his web site, Leite's Culinaria, and I tried two of the recipes he featured. These are from Sips & Apps: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Cocktails and Appetizers. Cute title - Sips & Apps, but I couldn't help thinking of variations as I fell to sleep last night: Nibbles & Cocks, Booze & Hors, Toddies & Tizers, Bites & Tails... Hey, it was more fun than counting sheep. However, as I drifted off, I did conclude the author chose the most appropriate title ;-)

Leite's Culinaria says, "This sweetly savory nibble is for those times when you want to set out that perfect little something for guests as they linger over a cocktail or a glass of wine." This year, walk on the wild side and set out a plate of these for Santa, with a martini, while he lingers around your Christmas tree. He just may forget how naughty you've been.

Pistachio-Orange Cocktail Cookies
From Sips & Apps: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Cocktails and Appetizers, via Leite’s Culinaria (Makes 24-36 cookies)

1 cup (4 ounces) raw, shelled pistachios
6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (3 ¾ ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon very finely minced orange zest
1 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina flour
1 ½ tablespoons whole milk
Kosher or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Roast the pistachios on a baking sheet about five minutes. Let cool, and coarsely chop.

Combine the butter, feta cheese, sugar, orange zest and orange flower water in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, on medium speed, until light and fluffy.

Whisk together both flours in another bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flours to the butter and cheese mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the milk, and mix briefly. Add the chopped pistachios, and mix briefly until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Divide the dough in half and roll each portion into a log about 6 inches long and 1-½ inches in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough logs until firm, about two hours, or freeze for 30 minutes. (The dough can be frozen for up to one month; refrigerate overnight before slicing and baking.)

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

Slice each dough log into about ¼-inch-thick rounds and place the rounds on the baking sheets, about one inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with the salt and bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden on the bottom and still pale on top. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days.



Caroline said...

These look so festive! I love when pistachio are added to food items, especially dessert items! The slice and bake cookies are great, too because you could make them up in advance, freeze them, and have them ready in a pinch for a party! Love that!

Carmen said...

Love the intro! And the cookies look like little bombs of Christmas. Gotta make'em! ... and so funny that I dropped off the cippolini onion tart this afternoon. I guess we're on a Leite diet ...?

Euniceee said...

Wow.. These cookies looks so tempting... I wish I could have a chance to try tht... =)