Pistachio Cherry Cookies

I was a little nervous for Christmas this year. Partly because it was the first Christmas without Grammy [which was her favorite holiday] and partly because Andrew and I were spending it apart. That’s a recipe for emotions all around [c’mon, even my dad missed Andrew], but celebrations were had without any tears. Getting together with family is pretty damn awesome. I see why she was so into it. I hope your Christmases were spent in equally good spirits, with any combination of good friends, family, and food. Guaranteed success.

I stayed the night at my parents’ house because I was going to be there Christmas Eve and Day. It’s not a far drive, but how else was I going to stay up until 1am talking with my dad, sleep in my old bed, and wake up to my mom making cinnamon rolls? It was pretty awesome. There was the much celebrated massive Mexican food feast for Christmas Day. Think six crockpots full of meats, beans, and rice, turkey enchiladas, tamales, taquitos, a quinoa salad, and every chip and taco/burrito topping you could think of. I contributed two bottles of wine a mole with roasted chicken, which wasn’t photo-worthy in the slightest. It was only okay — a little sweeter than I like my mole. I was nervous tossing so many raisins in, and it did exactly what I thought it would.

I also made these cookies because when else can you justify a bright green cookie with red flecks? Pretty sure we didn’t need another cookie amongst the probably 10+ other cookies, but that’s beside the point. There are several of us in the family who are complete suckers for pistachio pudding. That’s instantly what drew me to the recipe. That and I actually had two jars of maraschino cherries in my fridge. I don’t even know how that happened, but it did. Fate, man. Fate.

These are really, really, really, really good. Especially if you can get over the fact that they look like play dough. They stay so soft and chewy. It’s as close to being raw cookie dough without actually being raw. I didn’t exactly love how they baked because they didn’t want to spread [despite the two sticks of butter…] very much. I would have flattened the balls a little bit if I did it again, and probably scoop more than a tablespoon’s worth. These are practically one two bite cookies, and I prefer a little more than that. The taste more than made up for it. Maraschino cherries are a brilliant addition. Hints of sweetness in every bite of pistachio goodness. When the instructions tell you dry them, don’t mess around. Waste paper towels for the good of your cookies. If you actually wanted brown cookies, just make something else. The green/red combo makes these.

Especially since it made everyone think of the time Grammy made green mashed potatoes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Inspiration: The Girl Who Ate Everything


  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 box (3.4oz) pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3x drops of green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, small dice and dried well


Cream the butter in a stand mixer [or with a handheld mixer if you’re into that]. Really let it go for a few minutes. It should be light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, pudding mix, and flour. Let it go on a medium low speed until it soaks up all of the butter and turns into a dough. It’ll take a few minutes. Add the almond extract and food coloring and mix again until incorporated. Fold the cherries in by hand or with a few seconds in the mixer on low. Don’t let it mash the cherries.

Wrap the dough in saran wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare a couple pans with silpats or parchment paper. Make balls of dough about the size of a tablespoon. Spread them out evenly on the pan. Bake 10-11 minutes until the bottoms look like they’re starting to brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for awhile before eating. They’ll become much more presentable as they cool. They’ll keep for several days in an air-tight container.

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