the appetizer:

Holidays and chocolate naturally go together and Marcel Desaulniers' I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas, shows you how with recipes like Hungarian Chocolate Walnut Roll, White Chocolate Kisses, and Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Cigars.

I Love Desserts

Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Cigars

Chocolate Dipped
Pistachio Cigars

Makes 12 Cookies


The no-smoking zone does not apply with our pistachio-studded, chocolate-dipped cigar. Rather, this dainty cookie makes a heavenly treat with a cup of tea after all the presents have been wrapped.

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Place the corn syrup, confectioners' sugar, flour, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and then pour in the melted butter. Use a rubber spatula to stir until smooth. Add the chopped pistachios and use the spatula to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

3. Using 1 heaping teaspoon of batter for each cookie, portion 4 cookies about 3-1/2 inches apart widthwise and lengthwise on each of 3 nonstick baking sheets (no need for parchment or wax paper). Bake only one of the baking sheets at a time (keep the other 2 baking sheets at room temperature) on the center rack in the preheated oven for 12 to 13 minutes until uniformly light golden brown (rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time). Allow to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before handling.

4. Use a small offset spatula to lift one cookie from the baking sheet; flip the cookie so the pistachios are on the outside, and using your fingers, roll into a cigar shape. Place on a room-temperature baking sheet and repeat the rolling process with the 3 remaining cookies. If the cookies become too hard to roll, pop them back into the oven for a few seconds; that will soften them enough to be rolled. Repeat with the remaining sheets of cookies.

5. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a small glass bowl in a microwave oven (see Techniques, page 191). One at a time, carefully dip about half the length of each cigar into the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the double boiler before placing the cigar onto a baking sheet lined with clean parchment paper. Once all the cigars have been dipped in chocolate, refrigerate for a few minutes to firm the chocolate before serving.

The Chef's Touch

The recipe for this cookie is obviously simple, with very few ingredients, effortless preparation, and quick baking time. What will take patience and practice is rolling the baked cookies into cigars. That is why I suggest baking only one sheet of 4 cookies at a time—once the cookies exit the oven you will need to work quickly in order to roll them while they are still warm. They harden once they start to cool, making rolling impossible. But don't forget that you may put the too-hard cookies back in the oven for a few seconds to soften them and try again. The aphorism "practice makes perfect" applies with this confection.

Note that the cookies will appear paper-thin while baking—and that's the way it is!

The rolled cookies—without the chocolate—maybe kept in a tightly sealed plastic container for several days. Place parchment or wax paper in between the layers. Dip the cookies in chocolate and refrigerate just prior to serving.


Skinning Pistachios

One cup of pistachios in the shell will yield 1/2 cup shelled nuts. To skin the pistachios before toasting:

Drop the shelled nuts into boiling water for 3 minutes, then immediately drain. Place the drained nuts in the center of a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over the nuts and rub vigorously to remove the skins. The skinned pistachios are ready to be toasted.

Toasting Nuts

Always purchase unsalted nuts for recipes. I prefer purchasing whole raw shelled nuts when available, or shelled nut halves, rather than nut pieces, because

the quality of the nuts is superior when whole or halved rather than prechopped. Since nuts are perishable, store them in the refrigerator or freezer (bring them to room temperature before using). Always toast nuts before using them in a recipe. Toasting accentuates the flavor of nuts and dissipates any moisture the absorbent nut flesh may have acquired during storage. We toasted all the nuts (with the exception of dry roasted peanuts) before using them in the recipes in this book.

Once toasted, nuts should be completely cooled before chopping, especially if chopping is done in a food processor; otherwise the nuts may end up as nut butter. When a distinct size of chopped nut is needed for a recipe, I recommend hand-chopping the nuts rather than using the processor.

For best results toast nuts at 325 degrees F.

by Marcel Desaulniers
Toasting Nuts Chart
Nut Toasting time at 325 degrees F
Almonds, sliced 10 minutes
Cashews, whole 12 minutes
Hazelnuts, skinned 12 minutes
Macadamia nuts, unsalted 18 minutes
Pecan halves 12 minutes
Pistachios, shelled and skinned 10 minutes
Walnut halves 14 minutes

Buy I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas


I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas



This page created December 2007