Chewy Lemon Cookies with Pistachios and Poppy Seeds

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Don’t ask how, but I know there’s still room on all those cookie platters you’re making.

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And maybe you can’t even look at another chocolate chip and have sworn off buying peppermint extract for another year? Maybe? I want to be a mindreader when I grow up, so don’t mind me practicing. Everyone needs a dream, lovebugs!


You know how lemon cookies are always crispy and all shortbread-like? It makes your lemon cookie options limited, and we all sort of know that big, fat, chewy cookies are absolutely better than all the others. So, fellow lemon lovers: we don’t have to abide by that nonsense. We can have pistachios and poppy seeds too, for funsies.

The pistachio-shelling aspect of making these cookies is a good reminder that that one time you sat down in front of a bowl of pistachios and completely lost yourself for like an hour? It wasn’t so bad. You probably ate like ten pistachios. Shelling these suckers for an actual project is a test of patience, but we can do it!

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…There, that didn’t take long at all. Now we can get to the quick part, before we get to the dough-chilling part.

This is Alton Brown’s melted-butter method to cookie-making madness (as opposed to creaming the room temperature butter with sugar). Melted butter makes chewier cookies, and to be completely honest, I’m not sure why. But America’s Test Kitchen says so too.

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Otherwise, this is standard operating procedure. Butter and sugar, plus wet ingredients, then dry ingredients, then mix-ins. (By the way, if you’re still up for chocolate chips, go for it.)

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Also, since this dough does require chilling (partly to firm the butter we just melted back up because science is weird), I tend to just sort of form the dough into a log, wrap it in plastic, then, once chilled, cut it into 24 even-ish disks.

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…And then shape them into slightly flat-ish dough balls. However, if you want to just chill the dough in the bowl, then scoop, by all means! I’m not your cookie boss.

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I am only my cookie boss. I think I’m doing an alright job, you know? Performance review, from me, to me: hella satisfactory.

Let’s get on this! We all took a week off work to bake, right?

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Chewy Lemon, Pistachio, and Poppy Seed Cookies
Yields 24
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Total Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  2. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. A generous pinch of salt
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1 large egg yolk
  9. 2 tablespoons milk
  10. 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  11. 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  13. 1 cup roasted salted pistachios, shelled
  1. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk, zest, poppy seeds, and vanilla extract in a cup. Using a mixer, mix together sugar, brown sugar and melted butter in a large bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Gradually integrate the dry ingredients, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour is worked in, stir in pistachios. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Divide the dough into 24 balls and flatten slightly to form cookies. Place on parchment-paper lined cookie sheets (6 cookies per half-sheet). Bake for 10-15 minutes (10 minutes for chewy, soft cookies, 15 for some crispness on the outer edges), rotating the pans halfway through for even baking. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Adapted from Alton Brown
Adapted from Alton Brown
10th Kitchen
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11 Responses to Chewy Lemon Cookies with Pistachios and Poppy Seeds

  1. Delicious! I know because I tried them first hand. Now where is the recipe for the crazy firecracker chocolate chocolate chip cookies?

  2. Oh man, those cookies look SO GOOD. I *am* kind of sick of chocolate/peppermint everything—not even from actually eating it, just from seeing it all over every blog—and I love any dessert that involves lemon zest. (And I love chewy cookies made with melted (sometimes brown) butter.)

    My parents are arriving in to California later today, so I really need to spend every minute until they arrive cleaning my apartment, but I’m soooo tempted to make these instead… They’ll forgive me, right? :)

  3. What a great idea for a cookie!! I love this!!

  4. What a crazy flavor combo – and delicious looking too! Btw – you know you can buy pistachios already shelled, right? :)

    • I can’t say I’ve made an effort to look, but I also can’t say I recall seeing them. Where? Spill the shelled pistachio secrets, sister!

      Then again, maybe it’s too dangerous for me to have shelled ones around.

  5. Oh wow what a combo.. lemon, pistachios & poppy seeds!! Love it!! Happy weekend!! Xx

  6. I’m still not sick if cookies and chocolate as I’ve started cookie baking today, so I’d definitely make this right now ;–) They look so chewy!

  7. Hella satisfactory indeed! Get this: today, apropos of nothing, Jason said, “You know what sounds great? Those lemon poppy seed cookies your friend just posted.” (I think he saw them on facebook?) It was so random, but so true: these do sound great!

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