These beautiful gluten-free Edible Flower Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are sure to wow your guests when they see them, and again when they taste them!
– Updated May 2021 –
As most of you know, I’m a California-grown farm girl, proudly wearing boots in the field on my family’s ranches in the center on the Golden State. So, y’all can imagine how excited I was when the folks from CA Grown asked me to create an ecookbook full of simple, seasonal recipes highlighting all the goodness raised here. Of course I included gluten-free versions of every dish. You can download it (Free!) right here. These pretty cookies are featured in the cookbook, and they’ve become one of my favorite recipes.
California is America’s leading producer of high-quality cut flowers and greens – growing over 75% of all domestic cut flowers in the United States. That includes culinary grade flowers, so when you see an orchid on your dessert or a snapdragon in your salad, there’s a good chance it’s California Grown. It also means that if you’d like to support local farmers, asking for American-grown blooms and greens is a great place to start.
Now, about those cookies.
Inspired by Chef Lori Stern’s Instagram-sensation edible flower cookies, these buttery-crisp shortbreads feature pretty green flecks and fabulous crunch courtesy of pistachios.
Many varieties of flowers are edible, but you’ll want to be certain the ones you’re using are culinary-grade. That means they’ve been grown and packed in conditions that are food-safe. You can order edible flowers online, or from some florists or grocery stores. Farmer’s markets are also a great source for edible blooms. When I can’t find edible flowers locally, I order mine here.
Choosing Edible Flowers:
You can use any edible flowers you like. Pansies, violas, nasturtium, dianthus, and borage blossoms all work well. I also use parsley leaves and mint leaves often. Remember that the flowers or herbs may add flavor to the cookies, so you want ones that taste as good as they look. Fresh basil is pretty, but it doesn’t bake well and the flavor isn’t great with the sugar topping on the cookies. Rose petals can overpower the light flavor of the cookies, so I choose other blooms.
This recipe makes 24-30 cookies, depending on the size you cut them and thickness of the dough. Chopping the nuts finely makes for more usable dough. When you make you first batch (or your twelfth) – please share them with me @gfreefoodie on Instagram. Happy baking!
Gluten-Free Edible Flower Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend I like Pamela's Products or King Arthur, make certain your blend contains baking binder, or add your own)
- 1/2 cup cane sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup pistachios finely chopped
- Edible flowers: we recommend pansy, viola, nasturtium, dianthus, and borage blossom
- 1 TBSP water* (if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, mix with a spoon until combined. Scatter the pistachio pieces over the dough and knead with hands until the dough comes together and is smooth. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes.
- *(This dough is a bit coarse/crumbly, and will need to be kneaded together and formed by hand. If the dough if too crumbly to form into a disc for chilling, you can add up to 1 TBSP water, a but at a time, to get it to bind. If your pistachios aren;t chopped finely as noted, that could also be a problem.)
- Remove dough from refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies with a 1 1/2 inch round cutter, and place them on the lined baking sheet. Artfully place the flowers or individual petals on the cookies and press gently into the dough.
- Bake on the center rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges turn slightly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with sugar, then allow to cool.
Sponsored by California Grown. All opinions are my own. But you knew that.
Edible Flower Pistachio Shortbread Cookies photography by: James Collier
Honestly, how could a plateful of these not make your guests feel special?
Frequently asked questions about Edible Flower Cookies:
Pansies, violas, nasturtium, dianthus, and borage blossoms can all be used in baking, and work well on these cookies. Roses are also great for baking, as long as you enjoy the (sometimes strong) rose flavor. Herbs like mint and parsley also do well in baked goods, and blend well with the flavors of edible flowers.
Yes! When topping cookies or crackers, you want to use a cookie recipe that bakes at a lower temperature and for no more than 15 minutes so the flowers don’t burn. Edible flowers can be blended into doughs and batters as well. Flowers are also great in frsitings or ice cream.
Edible flowers can be ordered online, or from some florists or grocery stores. Farmer’s markets are also a great source for edible blooms. When I can’t find them locally, I order edible flowers online here.
A shortbread or similar crisp cookie dough that bakes quickly is best for topping with edible flowers.
No, you don’t need to press the flowers before baking. The petals should stick to the cookie dough pretty well, and anything sticking up adds a lovely texture to the cookies.
No. Most edible flowers can be baked fresh. Drying in advance actually increases the chances of the petals burning.