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SSB Week 2 - Sicilian Pistachio Bars

This week for our Sunday Slow Bakers, Deborah chose Sicilian Pistachio Bars. Like the other recipes, this one came from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano.

Normally, with pistachios, the hardest part of the recipe for me, is finding unsalted, shelled pistachios but I lucked out and found them at Whole Foods last week. The second hardest part is not eating them before I actually use them in the recipe. While I made it to the recipe with pistachios in tact, I can't say as much for the leftovers.

This time though, I did remember to read the recipe right through from beginning to end before I started. So, consequently, I did have my pistachios ground up and mixed with my flour and salt. I also had my 13x18" jelly roll pan, greased and lined and ready to go.

The batter comes together easy peasy, though, like last week, I guess it was a bit thicker than I expected. Spreading into the large pan required some work as I forget to purchase the suggested "offset spatula." But I managed. Using that large of a pan resulted in a thin cookie though, the advantage of which, was lower Weight Watcher points (by the time all was said and done, I figured about two points a bar).

The other thing I noted is that I'm not very good at coarsely chopping pistachios using my food processor. Using the food processor worked fine for the finely ground ones that I needed to mix with flour but when I used it to coarsely chop the ones on top, I ended up with some nuts that were still whole, and some ground; I'm not sure why that is. I did use pulse.

I needed more nuts anyway (as mine didn't seem to have the coverage others had indicated through pictures) and I was much more comfortable, putting a bunch into a Ziploc bag, and using my mallet to pound them (great stress reliever too).

The baking worked exactly as indicated, 35 minutes at 325 and they were golden on the edges but cooked through and nice and chewy for eating on the inside.

sicilian_pistachio_1.jpg

One other discrepancy I found, and here I need someone better at spacial mathematics (I have a thing with space and proportions) but the directions indicated I should cut the cookies into 1 x 1.5" bars (if memory serves - I don't have the book in front of me at the moment) but that would end up with roughly 160 bars! Since the servings indicated 24 - 36 bars, I cut mine in roughly 2 x 2" bars and ended up with about 48 (giving the aforementioned 2 points).

sicilian_pistachio_2.jpg

Now for the important question, how did they taste?

Good! They didn't knock any of the other recipes out as favorite but they're easy to put together, taste good, are relatively low in points, and I think, with the green pistachios, would probably make some colorful treats around the holidays. The only other thing I may do differently next time, is still use the amaretto, but maybe only use 1/2 t vanilla and then 1/2 t pure almond extract. I love that almond flavoring.

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Other Thinks (1)

"...using my mallet to pound them ..."
I told Shannon I didn't want to buy a bunch of new stuff for these SSB projects, but somehow, a mallet seems like a required item! I don't know how I've done without one so far. ;)
After using the hand chopper (Pampered Chef) I had some whole pistachios in the mix, too. The mallet seems like the way to go.

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