Why You Shouldn't Put Pistachios In Brownies, According To Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson is an acclaimed English food writer, television chef, and recipe master, but as it turns out, she can also add "brownie expert" to her impressive resume. According to Lawson, brownies can be elevated with many ingredients, but pistachios aren't one of them.

Per a recipe originally featured in Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess," brownies with chopped walnuts are the perfect addition to any birthday celebration. They're quicker to whip up than cake, and the crunchy nuts deliciously offset the gooey chocolate. If you're not a walnut fan, you can embellish any basic homemade brownie however you like, but you should never reach for pistachios.

In Lawson's experience, pistachios don't achieve the same crunch when baked into the batter. Instead, they get soft and chewy. While that may be pleasant to some pistachio lovers, those expecting a crunch will be severely disappointed. Pistachios are fairly soft on their own, so it's no surprise they get even softer and waxier when cooked. Although chewy pistachio cookie recipes make sense, the best brownie recipe typically includes a crunchy contrast.

Pistachio alternatives

In addition to walnuts, Nigella Lawson suggests using unsalted peanuts, hazelnuts, brazils, or pecans rather than pistachios. For the most flavorful results, try roasting the nuts in the oven before combining them with the brownie batter. The heat will intensify the taste and add a crisp texture. You can even add a crunchy cereal if nuts aren't your thing. If that's too much crunch, Lawson recommends shredded coconut for a subtler texture variation or white chocolate chips for an extra fudgy kick. 

Still, there are some reasons why you should eat more pistachios, including their high levels of vitamin B6, so if you're after the signature taste and nutritional benefits rather than a crunch factor, take a crack at incorporating pistachio custard into the batter. The only catch is that preparing pistachio custard takes more time. Pistachios can also be used as a crushed topping, but that will likely make a mess when it's time to take a bite. Unless you love chewy desserts, it's best to just avoid the hassle of pistachio brownies altogether and opt for a different ingredient.