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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 22, 2024

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic: Pistachio pinwheels

Every new recipe comes with a few unexpected challenges.

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic

Wednesday, 3:43 p.m., CS111: Operating Systems

Amelia Cook is handing out Vaughn Vreeland’s Mexican hot chocolate cookies to friends and fellow TAs. I am inspired to do the same next week. I hunt for a recipe to veganize and bake.

Wednesday, 4:58 p.m., Mac Lab

I float several recipe ideas to friends. Among the options: Erin Jeanne McDowell’s vegan chocolate chip cookies (too safe of an option) and Sue Li’s orange, pistachio and chocolate shortbread (I read too many comments saying that people didn’t like candied orange peels). Claire Saffitz’s pistachio pinwheels are selected. I consider substitutions for the butter and egg yolk.

I decide that the egg yolk in this recipe is primarily for flavor and fat. If egg whites had been included, the egg white would have served as a binding agent, in which case aquafaba or a flax egg substitute would be more appropriate. I opt for the coconut creamer in my fridge to replace the two egg yolks.

Friday, 4:35 p.m., my bed

I settle in for a Friday afternoon nap (and confirm my alarm is set for 6 p.m.). I watch the December 2020 video of Claire Saffitz making the pistachio pinwheels and observe her techniques: the consistency of the dough at each stage, how she rolls up the log, how she cuts the near-perfect circles. I dream of these cookies (though not literally).

Saturday, 10:11 a.m., Wegmans

I successfully take the bus to Wegmans. I select Earth Balance’s Vegan Buttery Sticks. I cringe at the cost of unroasted pistachios. I Uber home.

Saturday, 12:32 p.m., my kitchen

I begin making the dough with my blender. This is difficult because my blender, among the bounty of an Allston Christmas haul, is not a very good blender. I chill the dough.

Saturday, 7:20 p.m., my kitchen

I remove the log of dough from the refrigerator. The oven preheats while I cut the rounds of dough into cookies, following the recommended techniques. I assure a friend that I am, in fact, having a great time despite my visible stress. Two trays of cookies bake. I tie a green ribbon into a bow around a Tupperware.

Saturday, 8:39 p.m., outside of a friend’s house

I deliver the birthday gift of cookies to a friend and receive compliments that the cookies are so buttery and crispy, as a shortbread should be.

Sunday, 2:12 p.m., my kitchen

I make a second batch of dough. Learning from my mistake with the blender, I compose the dough in my roommate’s NutriBullet. This is successful. I let the dough chill.

Sunday, 5:01 p.m., my kitchen

Feeling emboldened, I slice the chilled dough into thinner rounds (I will always choose more cookies over thicker cookies). I fail to adjust the cooking time accordingly. A quarter of the batch burns in the oven, but they are still delicious.