Saturday 9 October 2010

Pink ribbon rosewater & pistachio shortbread

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation's annual Pink Ribbon Day was last Friday. 

The thing with breast cancer is that everyone has a story.  Everyone has had a sister, daughter or mother, relative or friend, or knows of someone, who has battled the disease.

For me, it was my Aunty Wendy who we lost to breast cancer, my mum who has beaten it only very recently and a close family friend who has just been diagnosed last week.

It's scarily common but luckily, thanks to clever wee scientists, the detection and treatment of breast cancer has come a long way and in most cases early detection can mean total recovery.  So as a hats off to all those organisations that fund research into breast cancer and in support of breast cancer awareness I made: Pink Ribbon Rosewater & Pistachio Shortbread.

I bought my wee pink ribbon cookie cutter near the beginning of the year from little cookies and have been waiting all year to bust it out! (pardon the pun - totally unintentional!).

Pink is such a pretty colour.  I wanted to make pretty pastel pink shortbread and thought that rosewater would be a perfect flavouring.  The recipe called for ground nuts and I really love the combination of rosewater and pistachios but I clearly didn't think that through properly.  The pistachios, being green, made the cookies a mucky pink rather than soft ballerina pink, so next time I think I might use ground almonds instead. 

I really love the rosewater flavour.  It comes through quite strongly so if you're not the biggest fan, decrease the amount of rosewater, say to one tablespoon and add one teaspoon of vanilla.

Also be careful with your baking time and oven temperature.  I browned the first batch (12 minutes at 180oC) and under cooked the next (10 minutes 175oC)!

Pink Ribbon Rosewater & Pistachio Shortbread

recipe tweaked from A Culinary Journey by Peter Gordon

Makes around 24 - 30 cookies

125 g unsalted butter softened
100 g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp rosewater (or 1Tbsp rosewater + 1 tsp vanilla for a more subtle flavour)
70 g ground pistachio (or ground almonds)
210 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
pink food colouring (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugar briefly.  I just did this by hand, coz you don't want to get too much air in there.

2. Beat in the egg yolk and then stir in ground pistachios, rosewater and a couple of drops of food colouring.

3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to form a dough.

4. Form into a lump, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten slightly.  Refrigerate for one hour.

5. Preheat your oven to 180oC.  Line two baking trays with baking paper.

6. Take the dough from the fridge and divide in two.  Put the other half back into the fridge.  Roll the dough out in between 2 pieces of baking paper to around 0.5 cm. Cut to shapes with a cookie cutter - a pink ribbon one in my case - and place on prepared baking trays.  Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.

7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (mine took exactly 11 minutes) - be careful not to brown.  Cool on a wire rack. 

8. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.


  1. I love that Peter Gordon book, I'm totally addicted to the chorizo soup in it. Btw these look so cute and you've added a nice twist to the recipe, pun also not intended.

  2. They're gorgeous! Love the concept as well - rosewater is perfect for pink shortbread. :-) And a mighty cause, too.

  3. The cookies are beautiful, and perfect to bring awareness about a disease that touches so many women

  4. These look absolutely amazing and also for such a good cause. Lovely. What a great combination of roseater and pistachio..... Yummmy

  5. What a beautiful and touching tribute in cookie-form to such a worthy cause.

  6. These look awesome! And thanks for sharing your story.

  7. These are just beautiful. Wonderful flavors. Great cause.

  8. What an exciting cookie cutter to have! These are really beautiful. They'd look wonderful as sugar cookies with white royal icing. :)

  9. Linno: Hehehe I love that you share my love of puns. Pun-sistas. It actually wasn't intentional - just goes to show I can't help being lamo even when I'm not trying! :P Oooh I haven't tried the chorizo soup - that is definitely on the to-make list now!

    Mrs Cake: Thanks Rosa! I love rosewater - it really should come already pink tinged rather than boringly clear!

    Chocolate Shavings: Breast cancer is so everywhere if you get what I mean. Everyone has been effected and baking is just such a great way to get people thinking and talking :)

    Joudie: Thanks Joudie! The Afghans really knew what they were doing with baklava huh!! LOVE the combo :P

    Carolyn: Thank you kindly :) All charitable campaigns should come in cookie-form I reckon!

    Dona: Thanks Donna! Thanks for stopping by :)

    Lora: Thanks heaps Lora!

    S at Buttered Up: I was actually going to try and do them as sugar cookies and royal icing but I chickened out on the royal icing and just decided to colour the cookie instead! :)

  10. I feel like I havent been on this site in forever and once again I am loving all the delicious looking food. I promise Ill be back more. :/ sorry!!

  11. Kita: Missed ya Kita! Have to say, I haven't done my blog rounds in ages as well so sorry from me too! Love the new format!!! :)



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