Pistachio Buttercream

Pistachio buttercream started as a small idea and turned into a wonder of a recipe.  One of my dearest friends is a pistachio nut (yes, I went there) and I had promised him some homemade baked goods.  I enjoy getting people to smile through their stomachs, and rather than just serving a random treat, it's a personalized gift when I can find out a person's favorite dish and make that.  He has contributed to quite a few of my recipes with suggestions, so a unique treat was well-deserved.  In this case, the initial concept was a fruit filled cake, but after the thoughts of pistachios came into the mix, the fruit ideas were weeded out and the pistachio thoughts survived recipe evolution.

Pistachios mixed into the batter?  Nah.  How about a frosting?  There we go!  But how?

There were a few different possibilities. There was, of course, sprinkling some pistachios over the buttercream, but that seemed too basic (I mean really).  I even had the thought of using pistachio pudding mix in the buttercream as I have made this recipe called Watergate Salad (coming soon!), which uses pudding mix to make the light green colored base.  But then I realized that by simply grinding the nuts, I could get that green color I wanted right along with the flavor.  Voila!

The cupcakes themselves will be posted separately, as I find it easier to find them later when I do.

Now that the idea was set, I got a bag of regular roasted pistachios.  Unfortunately they didn't have unsalted, but I figured a bit of salt wasn't going to hurt, especially since I was taking them out of the shells.  I used my magic bullet to finely chop the majority of the pistachios to make them powdery in consistency.  Then I took a handful more and just chopped them a bit to leave small hunks - this was how I figured I could capture some real pistachio flavor in there.

I whipped the buttercream frosting up as normal - mixing butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until I had a thick, creamy frosting.

I then mixed in the finely chopped pistachios and the roughly cut ones as well.  This resulted in a lovely, light green tinted frosting that I used to smother on some chocolate cupcakes.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  This was an utterly fantastic frosting.  The pistachio flavor really stood out and when coupled with that sweetness, I was left craving more.   I go through a lot of recipes, and occasionally find one that blows my mind.  This was one of those perfect desserts.  I did have to frost these with a knife as I went through two piping bags and immediate clogged the frosting tip both times.  That's when I realized the chunky nuts were just not going to work using that method.  But flavor rules above beauty, and in this instance the trade was absolutely fair.  And with ZERO food coloring a gorgeous, slightly green frosting was born!

Pistachio Buttercream Frosting Recipe


1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pistachios


Use chopper to finely grind 1/2 cup of pistachios.  Roughly chop the remaining 1/4 cup, leaving small chunks.  Beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add in vanilla extract and powdered sugar.  Stir in pistachios.

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