Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate

Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert Recipe

I first tasted rosewater several years ago at my stepdaughter’s first grade class party, which was thrown by a lovely Persian family. They served rose ice cream, a rich and creamy rose-flavored concoction that was absolutely heavenly. I’d come across rosewater many times in my vintage and historical cookbooks; it was one of the most common flavorings in Medieval England and Colonial America. Its early popularity in America waned as vanilla extract and other flavorings became more widespread, however rosewater remains a prominent flavoring in Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Though the idea of rose-flavored foods and beverages may seem slightly odd, when used properly the floral essence of rosewater is light and lovely – not at all overpowering. The practice of using steam to distill oil from flower petals was discovered sometime around 1000 BC. The method was initially used to administer drugs, but it wasn’t long before flower essences like rosewater and orange blossom water were used in cooking and creating perfumes. In the case of rosewater, fresh Damask rose petals are used. During Shavuot, rose is traditional with Sephardic Jews, who refer to the holiday as “the Feast of Roses.”

I’ve been wanting to create a dessert with rosewater for a few months now. Inspired by that first taste of rose ice cream, I was set on making something sweet and incorporating both rosewater and pistachios (another popular Persian ingredient). I originally tried this concept with brownies, but something about the flavor combination didn’t work for me. My genius assistant Ashley suggested we try it with blondies. The first try wasn’t quite right; it was missing some richness. I decided to brown the butter, which adds a nutty depth to the flavor, and I added some white chocolate chunks. The resulting tender, cookie-like blondies were rich, exotic, and completely irresistible. Top a warm blondie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling totally decadent.

Rosewater can be found at most Middle Eastern and kosher markets. If you’re having trouble locating or you’d rather not use it, feel free to substitute 1 1/4 tsp vanilla. But I really suggest you try the rose flavoring, it’s kind of magical. Have you ever cooked with rosewater?

Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert Recipe

Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp, heaping salt
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp rosewater

You will also need

  • 9x9 inch square baking pan, small saucepan, mixing bowls, nonstick cooking spray
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 - 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 - 55 Minutes
Servings: One 9x9 inch pan of blondies (9 large blondies, 12 small blondies)
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a small saucepan, whisk the butter over medium heat until it turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Careful, don't let the butter burn. Remove from heat as soon as it's golden and place the pan on a cool surface.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeOnce the browned butter has cooled, transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with the oil, brown sugar and eggs. Whisk till well combined.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeIn a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine thoroughly with a whisk.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeIn a small bowl, toss the pistachios and white chocolate chips with some of the flour mixture. This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter during baking.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeAdd the flour mixture to the butter mixture along with the rosewater and mix very thoroughly.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeFold in the floured pistachios and white chocolate chips, along with the flour they were tossed in.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeGrease a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the batter.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert RecipeBake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the blondies has set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Pistachio Rose Blondies with White Chocolate & Browned Butter - Tempting and Exotic Dessert Recipe

Research Source:

Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Wiley. Hoboken, NJ.

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Category: Baked Goods and Brunch Fare, Dairy, Desserts, Hanukkah, In the Kitchen, Purim, Recipes, Rosh Hashanah, Shavuot, Slide Show, Sukkot, Vegetarian

Comments (59)Post a Comment

  1. Gilly Martin says:

    No, but I’ve always wanted to! Weekend baking project!

  2. You are my sous – chef in shining armor. How did you know? Perfect for my New Years Eve catering gig, cut into small bite-sized squares.

  3. Ami Chapman says:

    This and your Rum Raisin Cranberry Kugel are the only 2 recipes hanging on my fridge right now!!! Mmmm….thank you!!

  4. Janet Leigh says:

    Used to make pistacio bread with rose water and rose petals…yummm

  5. Rosewater was a staple at our house, also Orange blossom water.

  6. I am Israeli and my dad is Egyptian , rose water is an essential ingredient in my kitchen , from biscotti to fruit salad ! Love it !

  7. Yes, after I saw the movie “Like Water For Chocolate”, but haven’t done so in a few years. Rosewater is also very refreshing misted onto the face, especially during these cold winter days of dry air in the house.

  8. Greta Budin says:

    Where do you get rosewater?

  9. Yes, I have quite a bit. My hobby is medieval cooking and they used it frequently in desserts

  10. I never cooked with rose water, but my mother used to make a liquor with that and edible rose petals, it was sweet and tasted of roses!

  11. Lara Smirnov says:

    I sprinkle rose water over the cut up cherry tomatoes and slowly roast them. Then add them to diff salads, make crostini with them or just serve them as is.

  12. Hila Ratzabi says:

    This looks amazing. Couple questions: 1) Can I make this gluten free if I sub almond flour? 2) If I use peanut butter chips (since that’s what I got here) does pistachio still fit? 3) And if I don’t have rosewater should I just not make these or maybe use some vanilla instead? (I realize I’m trying to change like every other ingredient here, but I want to make some baked goods!) ;)

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Hila :) I don’t recommend subbing straight almond flour in baked goods unless the recipe has been tested, it’s really hit or miss. Best to use a GF baking substitute flour like King Arthur GF All Purpose. Vanilla is a fine sub, I’ve given the recommended amount in the recipe intro. Peanut butter chips will work fine if you’re not using rosewater– if you’re using rosewater, they’ll clash with the flavor. If using PB chips, I’d omit the pistachios and double the amount of chips. Hope that helps!

    • Hila Ratzabi says:

      Excellent! I might have to find a recipe for peanut butter chip cookies with almond flour right about now (hehe), but once I get some GF all purpose flour I’m going to get on this recipe! Thanks for the tips!

    • Tori Avey says:

      While we’re on the subject, I just want to say that I haven’t tried the GF flour in this recipe myself, though I have used it in similar simple baked goods with success (not so much with breads, but it tends to be a good sub in blondies, brownies, cookies, etc.). It will be an experiment, so if you try it please report back and let us know how it went!

  13. Yes, much of Sephardi cooking calls for either rose or orange water

  14. I think we are going to try these really soon.

  15. often but my favorite use are phyllo cigars filled with ground pistachios, sugar and rosewater from the Book Of Jewish Food Claudia Roden. Rosewater is also a must for a good fruitcake

  16. My sister makes baklava with rose and orange water. I think. But me no.

  17. Rivkah Sherr says:

    No but i bought it its sitting in my closet waiting to be used !

  18. Yes, but not for decades now. Yummy!

  19. My mother always had rosewater and orange blossom essence in our kitchen growing up. She always sprinkled it over fruit salad. I love the flavors and the combination sounds delicious in this recipe!

  20. yes…it is common in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes…changes the whole flavor

  21. I’ve never cooked with rosewater, but I’ve made rose petal pancakes. Those cookies look yummy!

  22. Absolutely, I’ve used both orange and rose water in Middle Eastern dishes.

  23. I use it all the time to make jumbles (cookies) and Indian Pound Cake (both 19th century recipes)

  24. Lovely recipe! Will try for a sweet fete I am having in January! Thank you Tori!

  25. Yes, but did not like the combination with w/g free flour. Have you had luck with this combination?

  26. I have used it in a cookie recipe purported to be from Egypt. Delicious and very different. In Middle Eastern restaurants I’ve had it in various desserts including ice cream and baklava. Love it! Recently I tried to find some but couldn’t.

  27. If you love pistachio things, try Thin Addictives – the pistachio & almond ones are my favorite, but they are not available in Michigan so I STOCK UP when I am in FL Costco!

  28. sherri says:

    margarine instead of butter?

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Sherri, you can use margarine, but I would not recommend browning the margarine, since it lacks the milk solids that produce the browned butter flavor. Just melt it and add it to the batter, rather than browning it.

  29. Simone says:

    Tori-you must have read my mind-I just bought a bottle of rose water (& a bottle of orange blossom water) in an outdoor shuk here in Israel after eating malabi for the first time. Both “waters” smell divine! I can’t wait to try your recipe. Sounds delish!

  30. Mashugana says:

    My Tia (Sephardic for Aunt) was a related but not aunt. She used the rose water and her house always smelled of something delicious. I do recall that she claimed to use less sugar you add more extract. In the old days, eggs were sweet, and all the people in their nineties tell me that all the time.
    Memories 0-)

  31. Jeremy says:

    Made these last night and they came out really good! I had no rose water but hope to next time. Definitely need to be careful with the vanilla extract — that stuff is powerful!

  32. sherri says:

    thx tori

  33. Ava Reinfeld says:

    These sound delicious. Can gluten free flour be used instead of wheat flour?
    Very much enjoy reading your recipes.
    Happy New Year, looking forward to more.

  34. Tamar Leah says:

    I love the rosewater flavoring in The Rebbetzin Chef’s Persian Walnut Cookies(@Allrecipes.com)-it elevates a good cookie to amazing….BTW they’re Pesachdik!!! and they’re great to make for Purim.

  35. Naomi Newman says:

    Just made the blondies and they are baking away in the oven. The fragrance is divine. One change, I went with bittersweet chips (Scharffenberger) because I’m not fan of white chocolate.

  36. Simone says:

    Tori-since you’re melting the butter in the recipe, can you use vegetable/canola oil instead? Thanks & love your blog!

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Simone– yes, you can, however the flavor will suffer. Part of the thing that makes these so yummy is the browned butter. The oil will leave them tasting rather bland, in my opinion.

  37. Naomi Newman says:

    Our guests loved the blondies – they were exceptional with the semi-sweet chocolate. The rose water is a nice complement to the deep chocolate and the blondie batter.

  38. Joan Maslin says:

    If I had pistachios I would make them right now. I have a bottle of rosewater that I purchased quite awhile ago and never opened. Seems in perfect shape. Definitely going to make in the next few days. Thanks. Will let you know how they came out

  39. Iris Miller says:

    Thanks for something different to make, I will try it! I love rosewater and have made the India dessert of rice in milk with sugar and rosewater. I keep the rosewater in the refrigerator toward the back so it will stay fresh longer as that was the only recipe I bought it for. It is also used in the healing arts as a purification, sprayed in a mist over you. It’s heavenly.

  40. Elian Tackeff says:

    Just made them! So delicious! I used dry roasted unsalted pistachios and ghirardelli white chocolate. Love rose water. Maybe I’ll use an extra tbsp next time. Yum!

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