You can buy dried rose petals and/or tiny dried rose buds online or from specialty tea purveyors—the buds are used as herbal tea. For buds, use your fingers to crush and remove the petals (only) from the stems—you will need 10 to 12 buds. Don’t pass over this recipe for want of rose petals: The cookies are excellent without them—though not quite as pretty; most of the rose flavor comes from the rose water. —Alice Medrich
about 40 meringues
(150 grams) raw pistachios, chopped, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons
(3 grams) crushed (with your fingertips) dried rose petals (see headnote), divided (optional)
(62 grams) tahini, well stirred before measuring
fine sea salt
(130 grams) sugar
large egg whites, at room temperature
cream of tartar
rose flower water
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 200° F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Reserve 1/4 cup (40 grams) of the pistachios and a rounded 3/4 teaspoon of crushed petals for topping the meringues.
Mix the remaining pistachios with the tahini and salt. Set aside. Mix the remaining rose petals with the sugar. Set aside.
Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and rose water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or other mixing bowl). Beat at medium-high speed in the stand mixer (or at high speed with a handheld mixer) until the egg whites are creamy-white (instead of translucent yellow) and hold a soft shape when the beaters are lifted. Continue to beat on medium-high speed, adding the sugar mixture a little at a time, taking 1 to 2 minutes in all, until the whites are very stiff.
Scatter half of the sticky pistachio-tahini mixture in little bits over the surface of the meringue. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in two strokes, just to cover the pistachios with meringue. Scatter the rest of the pistachios and scrape any tahini left in the bowl over the meringue as well. Fold just until the pistachios look evening distributed. (The more you fold, the more the meringue will deflate from the fat in the tahini).
Drop heaping teaspoons of batter 1 1/2 inches apart onto the lined baking sheets. Make relatively tall shapes because the batter will settle in the oven as the fat in the tahini melts. Sprinkle meringues with the reserved pistachios and crushed petals. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Remove one test meringue and let it cool completely before taking a bite. (Meringues are never crisp when hot.) If the meringue is completely dry and crisp, turn off the heat and let the remaining meringues cool completely in the oven. If the test meringue is chewy or sticks to your teeth, bake for another 15 to 20 minutes before testing another meringue.
To prevent the cookies from becoming moist and sticky, put them in an airtight container as soon as they are cool. May be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).