Friday, December 04, 2009

Recipe for Flourless, Sugar-Free Pistachio Cookies

Sugar-Free Pistachio Cookies
Flourless and sugar-free pistachio cookies, made with Stevia-in-the-Raw granulated sweetener or Splenda)

(Updated and added to Christmas Recipes, December 2009.) I'm excited to announce that Kalyn's Kitchen is one of the blogs being featured as part of Holiday 2009 at, and this is one of the recipes being featured there, and is also part of the Christmas Recipes on Kalyn's Kitchen. Welcome to anyone visiting from!)

This cookie recipe is especially for anyone who's trying to avoid the sugar blues this holiday. The photo is rather deceptive, so for the record it's a tiny plate, a macro lens on the camera, and these are tiny little cookies, but loaded with flavor. I found the recipe on a great blog called The Italian Dish, who got it from II Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey by Marc Vetri, and apparently the cookies are served in his Philadelphia restaurant, Vendi.

With only four ingredients, this recipe might be the ultimate test of how easy it is to substitute Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener for sugar in a recipe, and I was happy with the results. 

I was struck by how different my dough looked from the pictures on The Italian Dish, but I didn't realize until I looked it up on Wikipedia that almond meal and almond flour are slightly different. I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal which probably gave the cookies a slightly denser texture, but still worked perfectly. I don't have a stand mixer, so I just mixed the cookies in a food processor.

I was baking the cookies in my toaster oven, so I had several batches to cook. The first batch didn't spread enough, so by the second batch I decided to smash the cookies down a bit, like the ones in this photo.

Flourless Sugar-Free Pistachio Cookies
(Makes 40-50 small cookies, recipe adapted from II Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey, found via The Italian Dish.)

3/4 cup (4 oz.) shelled pistachio nuts, plus about 50 nuts to garnish top of cookies (I used dry-roasted pistachio kernels from Costco)
2 T plus 1 cup Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or use a blend of Splenda/Stevia and sugar or all sugar if you prefer)
1 2/3 cup almond meal (sometimes called almond flour, although they're slightly different)
2 eggs, beaten well

In food processor or bowl of immersion blender, combine pistachios with 2 T Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener and process until the nuts are finely ground. If using food processor change to plastic blade, or transfer pistachio/sweetener mixture to stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the almond meal and cup of sweetener and mix until well combined. Then add eggs and mix until completely blended into dry ingredients. Remove mixture from food process or mixer bowl and chill at least 8 hours. (I chilled it overnight and baked the cookies the next day. I'm curious if you could get away with a shorter chilling time with almond meal, since the mixture was very dense.)

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop a small spoonfuls of dough and roll between your hands to make a small ball about an inch in diameter. (I used a teaspoon measuring spoon to scoop out the dough.) Put each ball on the parchment, smash down slightly, then press one pistachio into the center.

Bake cookies until they are lightly browned on the edges, about 12-15 minutes in my toaster oven. Let cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack or dish towel and let cool.

My cookies didn't spread out much, probably due to the denser texture from the almond meal. Seems to me this recipe would also be very adaptable to other types of nuts; I'd love to know if anyone tries some variations.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, this cookie would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet, or other low-glycemic eating plan. However, these are very calorie-dense cookies, so limit your servings and be sure to count the cookies as your allotment of nuts for the day if you're following South Beach.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Low-Sugar Cookies or Muffins to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies with Almond and Flaxseed Meal
Flourless, Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Low-Sugar Cookies with Meringue and Pecans
Sugar-Free Pecan Coconut Macaroons from Gluten-Free Bay
Agave Christmas Cookies from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs
Low-Sugar Orange Chocolate Muffins from What's For Lunch Honey?
(I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit
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  1. Nice cookies! I want a bite!
    Come to visit me!

  2. The cookies look great! Very festive too!

  3. What a great wheat free cookie! My youngest can't eat wheat, but loves to bake ... so this will be a great treat for her especially with Christmas around the corner. Thanks for posting!

  4. I can tell just by reading the ingredients that these would be delish! I love pistachios in just about anything. And thanks for the link to the sugar-free sugar cookies--just baked up a batch last week (so much fun to roll cookies!). PS Never knew about the difference between almond meal and flour--I guess I've only seen meal around here.

  5. Talita, glad you like the look of them.

    Maria, thanks.

    Glad it was useful.

    Rikki, I decided I haven't used almond flour either after I read that. I think it might be an Italian product, whereas in the U.S. we only get almond meal. Of course after I read that I wanted to get some almond flour so I could try it!

  6. These do sound like something I would enjoy! I can eat flour, but I do like alternative cookie recipes.

  7. could you use soy flour instead of almond meal??

  8. Well, dang! I would like to try these as a sugar free version, myself! Just to clarify, what I use at home and in my recipe is Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour. That's how it's labeled. The only ingredient is finely ground almonds. That's what I use to bake anything that calls for Almond Flour. Don't know about any ofo the other products, but that's what I keep on hand. I love it that you made the sugar free version, Kalyn, because I never know if substituting Splenda works and I try to watch my sugar, too. Thanks!

  9. Italian Dish. that's very interesting because Bob's Red Mill is exactly the brand I used too! No idea why our batter looked so different, but maybe it's just that I mixed it with a food processor. Great recipe though, thanks, and I love your blog!

    Raquel, I don't really know. I've never cooked with soy flour. I doubt it though, as the almond meal is much heavier. If you try it, let us know how it works. Maybe part soy flour and part almond meal would work, for a lighter cookie.

  10. wow! that is so cool! thanks for sharing! i'm sure one of my brothers would love them :)

  11. Hi Kalyn, Trader Joe's has a ground almond meal that I've used in place of flour with great success. I've not tried Bob's Red Mill but will soon as a comparison. I'll bet these cute little cookies satisfy a sugar craving. Thanks for sharing them.
    A while ago I got away from using Splenda and went back to small amounts of sugar. Well, my body told me in no uncertain terms that Sugar was definitely on its no-no list, so I'm back to Splenda, sparingly, and am much happier.

  12. Baking with almond meal is so much fun. I love the addition of pistachios. Sounds delicious!

  13. Being diabetic, this recipe fits my diet very well! One question...what do you think would happen if you used roasted rather than raw pistachios?

  14. Marsha, I did use roasted pistachios. The package I have says "dry roasted pistachio kernels." Maybe I better clarify that in the recipe, thanks!

  15. My cookies looked exactly like yours! I used Bob's Red Mill, roasted nuts, and used a hand mixer. Delicious...thanks for the recipe!

  16. Marsha, so glad to hear that. (And now I'm wondering why I didn't think of using a hand mixer, duh. Great idea.)

  17. Kalyn, I didn't have pistachios, so I decided to play with the recipe a little. I used almond meal, pre-packaged crushed walnuts, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (these ingredients were all leftover from your pumpkin pie cheesecake recipe!), a little vanilla, and a pinch of salt. I put slivered almonds on top of the cookies and baked. Very, very good. Thanks for this great recipe. I can't wait to try the real one!

  18. Anonymous, now I want to try that version!

  19. Yum! These are great for Passover, where baking soda/powder and flour are a no-no. I did a trial run this week in preparation for the holiday, and they came out great! I didn't chill the dough more than 4 hours because I didn't get to that part in the recipe until it was sort of too late. I baked a tray yesterday and continued to chill the rest--I'll bake them now and see how they turn out!

  20. I made these but used macadamia nuts, and they turned out quite nice! Here's a link to my post:

  21. This sounds like an amazing recipe-perfect for my husband who is diabetic,but still loves cookies.

  22. Kalyn, well deserved congrats on the mention. You have proven that you are the go-to gal on how to get control of your weight, and still enjoy food. So happy for you!

  23. Deborah, I'm not an expert on diabetes, but I think these should be great for it.

    Gwen, thanks so much! It's exciting.

  24. Kalyn, congratulations on being featured on! You deserve it! These cookies sound as though they would be very satisfying, but without the guilt of too many holiday treats.

  25. Yay! I'm always a fan of anything flourless!

  26. I've never had pistachio cookies, but I love pistachios and I'm sure these are great. And flourless to boot? So excited to try them.

  27. I'd like to try these cookies with stevia or agave sweeteners, instead of splenda. I'll let you know how they turn out. The conversions are not straight forward, but this is a simple recipe and I love pistachios. I have a reaction to artificial sweeteners, even splenda.

  28. Now I want to make more cookies, but they really are good!

    Jayne, would love to hear how it works using stevia or agave if you try it.

  29. Congratulations on being featured in! Your cookies look sensational. It's not easy to maintain pistachio's lovely green when baking, but you've pulled it off. Festive and delicious.

  30. Lovely cookies. I can imagine the flavour,taste and crunch....YUM. This would be a great item to share with friends during coffee morning or afternoon tea.

  31. I'm so glad to discover your site, as I'm just starting the southbeach diet. Great looking recipes! Two questions on this cooking recipe:

    1. Do you think this dough would work in a cookie press?

    2. How many of these cookies do you think = a dessert serving for Phase 1? I haven't a clue how it all balances out, and want something different than the various forms of ricotta desserts that are recommended with dinner.

  32. I've never used a cookie press so I can't answer that. I wouldn't eat more than one or two of these cookies at a time if you're actively trying to lose weight.

  33. Kalyn--
    I only chilled this for about 3 hours and before I chilled it, I formed the ball into a log wrapped in wax paper and when it came time to bake them I just sliced the number of cookies I wanted off the log and put the rest in the fridge for another time.

    This is my last day of phase 1 of South Beach and I'm going to have one (or two) of these without reservation. I simply ground up my own almonds so I'm thinking this makes them acceptable since no flour was added to my almond meal.

    Thanks so much!!


  34. Jennifer, go ahead and have a couple, but I do need to tell you that no kind of flour (even nut flour) is really allowed for phase one. (The almond "flour" doesn't contain flour, it's just called that because the almonds are so finely ground.) I was mixed up about that for quite a while though, and it didn't seem to hurt me. (I think it's not allowed because nuts are so calorie dense, that when they're ground into flour it's easy to eat more than the allowed amount.)

  35. > I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams,

    How's that working for you ?

  36. Wazzup, it works perfectly when I stick to the plan!


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