Ah, Christmas. The one time of year I will absolutely stuff my face with sweets at a party and consider it dinner. And my favorite kind of holiday shindig? A cookie party, of course. Where everyone brings their favorite recipe to share! So when Sarah Gibson at Room for Tuesday had the genius idea to host the First Annual Blog Hop Cookie Swap online, you can bet I said yes yes yes to being a part! At the bottom of the post, you’ll find links to 14 other amazing Christmas cookie recipes, so get ready for some serious pinning.

Once I said yes to joining this crew, then came the big question: which cookies to bake!? Rather than go with any tried and true recipe, I started thinking about what kind of cookie I would like to be bringing to this party, and was inspired by the memory of my dad’s miniature cannolis that we used to sell every holiday season. They contained the classic cannoli flavors of candied orange, miniature chocolate chips and pistachios – but they’re not exactly a cookie. So, I went on the hunt for pistachio cookie recipes… until I found this one that felt authentically Italian and adaptable at the same time! Meet our Salted Chocolate Pistachio Cookies!

italian salted pistachio cookies with orange and chocolate | coco kelley italian salted pistachio cookies with orange and chocolate | coco kelley

Using the pistachio cookie recipe I found as a base, I swapped out the lemon zest for orange, and added a hint of chocolate. After taste-testing a few versions, I decided to try adding a little sea salt topper to balance the massive amount of sugar going on here. The result? A perfectly chewy, delicious, very easy to make, cannoli-inspired cookie. With a salty twist, should you be into it!

Salted Chocolate Pistachio Cookies // makes 14-16 cookies

  • 1⅓ cups raw shelled pistachios (salted or unsalted)
  • ⅔ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • ½ orange, zested
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1 large egg white
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • Confectioners sugar to roll in
  • Maldon sea salt to sprinkle (optional) 
italian salted pistachio cookies with orange and chocolate | coco kelley
  1. To start, preheat oven to 375º. Use a food processor to reduce to the raw pistachios to a coarsely ground consistency (you don’t want to get it too flour-like). 
  2. Combine the pistachios, sugar, and almond flour together in a bowl first.  Then sprinkle in the vanilla and orange extract, as well as orange zest. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the egg white and honey and mix thoroughly. The ingredients should now be dense enough to stick together to form balls!
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper (or give it a good layer of shortening), and sift your confectioners sugar into a shallow bowl.
  5. Roll the dough into a ball, then drop it into the confectioners sugar and coat it thoroughly with a thick layer of sugar. Place on baking sheet.
  6. Using a cup, or flat surface, smoosh the balls down to a half inch or so. Making a small divot with your thumb, place small chunks of the semi-sweet chocolate into the cookie surface. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt.
italian salted pistachio cookies with orange and chocolate | coco kelley

Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes. The chocolate will be soft, but not entirely melted. Pro tip: If you want to use this recipe without the chocolate, bake the cookies at 350º for 14-16 minutes. I changed the temperature and time from the original recipe to ensure that the chocolate would melt better! Also, if you want to boost the pistachio flavor, you could do all pistachios and cut out the almond. You could also nix the chocolate, or try using salted pistachios and nix the salt topping. I enjoy taking recipes and finding my own perfect balance with them, and  you should too! italian salted pistachio cookies with orange and chocolate | coco kelleyitalian cannoli cookie recipe with pistachio orange and chocolate | coco kelley

Side note: I put a ton of powdered sugar on my dough balls and they still absorbed quite a bit of it. I’ll have to keep testing to see if there’s a trick to getting them to have that crinkle-cookie look. Maybe chilling the dough before rolling it? If you’re a technical baker, maybe you can share the secret!

The best part about this recipe for us, is that these cookie are naturally gluten-free! My step-daughter can’t have gluten or dairy, so these are a great recipe for anyone with the same diet restrictions. We all loved the combination of flavors going on in these Christmas cookies!

Now, are you ready to see what all the other gals baked? They all look insanely delicious! Some super classic, others I can’t wait to try for the first time!

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