More toffee than cookie, I grew up with lacey cookies purchased from the local grocery store. Although not invented by the Humboldt County company that made them in my hometown, they definitely cornered the market and brought "Laceys" (now a registered trademark) to the forefront of local graduation parties, holiday gatherings, gift baskets, and this girl's heart.
The classic registered trademark Laceys cookie is composed of melted chocolate sandwiched between two toffee cookies, which is delightful and worth making, whereas this version is uniquely different and much lighter, with pistachio, saffron, and and absence of chocolate (trust me) for a truly crisp taste and more unique Middle Eastern/Indian flavor. Lacey cookies have barely any flour, but a relatively larger amount (compared to typical cookie recipes) of sugar that, when heated, caramelizes and, in combination with the butter and nuts, create more of a brittle nutty candy than cookie.
I'm a sucker for caramelly, nutty, crunchy, slightly salty, exotic-spicey desserts and this version of a lacey cookie (or Laceys®) takes the cake - er - cookie! This version has a great brightness from the orange zest (just in time for the approaching citrus season!) and is light enough to warrant pairing with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, no complaints! Or perhaps making an ice cream sandwich that crackles to the bite and turns into a saffron-pistachio toffee ice cream in the mouth? Just a thought. Additional bonus is that they're so thin, one batch makes quite a lot and they keep well in the freezer - just remove, thaw for 5 minutes until you can slice them and cook them up as directed. Recipe is adapted from one found here and makes about 48 cookies, depending on how thick you slice them.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped saffron threads
- 3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios (about 3 ounces)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- In a small bowl, add saffron to melted butter and let sit for five minutes.
- In a food processor, pulse pistachios and sugar until nuts are very finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, you can simply chop them with a knife until fine, but it will take some time.
- In a medium bowl, stir together saffron butter, pistachio-sugar mixture, almond extract, flour, orange zest, and orange juice.
- Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes (dough will be too sticky to handle otherwise).
- Remove from refrigerator and roll into two logs about 1/2-inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and freeze at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Using a sharp knife, slice each log into about 1/4-inch thick slices. Place sliced dough discs two inches apart from each other on parchment-paper or Silpat-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake 10 minutes or until golden.
- Cool on cookie sheets (the cookies will break if you remove them while warm).
- Store layered between parchment in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you leave them out to open air for more than a few hours, they will absorb any moisture from the air and potentially become soggy.