Pistachio Ouzo Cookies With OPA

Pistachio Ouzo Cookies With OPA are exactly that; an expression of zest for life, celebrated by dancing and drinking… OPA!

pistachio and Ouzo cookies
Pistachio and Ouzo Cookies

Mediterranean Cookies

Having grown up in a Mediterranean influenced cuisine, my mind always goes there when I am creating new recipes.

Cookies are a world renowned dessert, and so I had to create a cookie that was both Middle Eastern and Greek.

Therefore, this cookie is truly Mediterranean!

pistachio and Ouzo cookies
Pistachio and Ouzo Cookies

Ouzo Cookies With OPA

During the early years of my life, being part Syrian, I grew up with a large Greek community.

Come on y’all, we’re only about half a second away from being different!

My first introduction to nightlife, when I was old enough, was to the Greek nightclubs of Washington DC.

There is absolutely no disco club having more fun than a Greek nightclub.

Why? A Greek nightclub has OPA!

What Is OPA And What Does It Have To Do With Cookies!

Every language has its lingo, its slang words, and OPA is it for the Greeks.

It can mean anything from – “Opa my friend, I would do that if I were you”, to “OPA, you kissed her”!

It’s a way of expressing joy or excitement; kind of like what ‘Joie de vivre’ is in French.

And so… at the end of a long night of dining with a large table of friends, a little belly dancing, lots of music and Ouzo, you simply want a cookie that says it all!

That Is What These Cookies Are!

An OPA Gathering With Friends
An OPA Gathering With Friends

Pistachio Nuts In Greek And Middle Eastern Cooking

These decadent Pistachio and Ouzo Cookies are loaded with crushed pistachios, since they are a tradition from my childhood.

Pistachios were the only nut I remember my first generation Syrian mom cooking with when I was a kid.

Later, I remember walnuts were added to the repertoire of nuts in my mother’s cooking, but pistachios were always in her Baklawa and cookies.

Syrian cooking is known for its desserts and the many ways they incorporate nuts, and exotic spices into them, such as Mahleb or Mastic.

Pistachios have a natural sweetness, as do walnuts.

Pistachio Flour Ouzo Cookies

All nuts can be ground into a flour to use for baking.

The natural oils in nuts makes for a very moist dough, often taking the place of the need for so much butter in cookies.

Pistachio flour has such a lovely sweet flavor and subtle green color that cakes and cookies just look festive when pistachio flour is used.

And isn’t that what OPA is all about; being festive!


What Is Ouzo?

Back in the day, like in the early 60’s, before ‘young ladies’ threw down shots, there was a drink they sipped in a shot glass as the end of the evening; Ouzo.

It’s strong, sweet and refreshing, all at the same time.

Why? The flavor is uniquely created in Greece and Cyprus, and likened to the flavor of Fennel or Anise, as in liquorice-scented.

How To Make Pistachio and Ouzo Cookies

First, you will want to soften the butter, and yes, only butter is used.

Leaving it out to room temperature works, but if it’s winter you may need a little help.

An easy way to soften butter is to fill a large Mason Jar with hot water, dump the water out, put the butter in quick and put the lid on.

The inside of the glass is warm and will soften the butter quickly.

Secondly, you will want to crush the pistachios into a soft flour.

This can be done in a food processor or a blender.

My mom used to put the nuts in a kitchen towel and crush them with a hammer. This works too but doesn’t turn the nuts into flour.

Lastly, you will mix the ingredients together.

Place the dough in a sheet of parchment paper, roll it into a log, chill, slice and bake. Easy!

Ouzo Arak and Pernod

The flavor of licorice or fennel is one you will find often in a Mediterranean aperitif or late night sips.

It also happens to be one often found in many baked goods throughout the Middle East, Turkey and Greece.

While these liquors are sipped or added to exotic drinks, more frequently in Mediterranean cultures than any other liquor, they are also used in the baking of cakes, pies and cookies.

Consequently, a single sip of an anise flavored liquor (Arak, Ouzo or Sambuca), will make you swear you are seeing belly dancers and exotic musicians. OPA!

Yes I Belly Dance - Doesn't Every Syrian Gal!
Yes I Belly Dance – Doesn’t Every Syrian Gal!

Ingredients Needed

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Ouzo, Arak or Sambuca
  • Flour
  • Pistachios
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • Confection sugar
Ground Pistachios In The Dough - Whole Pistachios On Top
Ground Pistachios In The Dough – Whole Pistachios On Top

Equipment Needed

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Parchment paper
  • Sifter
  • Knife
  • Oven
Pistachio Ouzo Cookies
Pistachio Ouzo Cookies

Pistachio Ouzo Cookies With OPA

Mediterranean flavors of pistachio flour and the anise-flavor of Ouzo in a shortbread cookie dough dusted with confectioners sugar and pistachios.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Pistachio Ouzo Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
chill: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 servings


  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper


  • 1 cup Butter, softened 2 sticks
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Ouzo, Arak or Sambuca
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups Pistachio nuts crushed to a powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Confectioners sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Blend softened butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add the egg and liquor and blend well.
  • Mix in flour, 1 cup of crushed nuts, baking powder, and salt.
    Blend until all ingredients come together into a dough ball.
  • On a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, place the dough on top, and roll into a log.
  • Place the wrapped log into the fridge to chill for 30-minutes.
    Slice cookie dough into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or nonstick baking sheet.
  • Bake between 12 and 15 minutes. Cool completely before dusting.
  • Once cookies are completely cooled, dust with confectioners sugar, followed by remaining crushed pistachios.


Cool cookies completely before dusting with confectioners sugar otherwise the sugar will melt.
Pistachio Ouzo Cookies With OPA
Pistachio Ouzo Cookies With OPA
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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