White Chocolate Gianduja · GF (2 cups)

Lemme shoot it to ya straight: this recipe isn’t about white chocolate so much as it’s about pistachios. Or coconut. Or whatever.

emerald green bowl of pistachio paste

I came up with it as a spin on gianduja (cousin to Nutella) that would forgo hazelnuts to give under-appreciated pistachios a chance to shine. White chocolate’s mild flavor drops lets the pistachios take center stage. If you’d rather have straight up hazelnuts and dark chocolate, check out my recipe for homemade Nutella instead.

This recipe loves to play. You can try out the coconut or pumpkin seed variations listed below, or swap the pistachios for pecans. The finished product tastes fabulous spread over baguette, but jazzes up brownies and ice cream just as well. Chilled, it can be scooped into tiny spheres garnish cheesecake or cut into diamonds and dipped in chocolate.

chocolate covered pistachio candies

White Chocolate Pistachio Gianduja
3 1/2 ounces water
7 ounces sugar
3 ounces corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 ounces pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped, melted and cool
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
2 1/2 ounces pistachio oil
optional: green food coloring

Lightly grease a sheet pan with pan spray, or use a silicon mat, and set aside.

Combine water, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean scrapings in a small pot over medium heat. Stir gently with a heat resistant spatula, taking care not to splash, until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture starts to bubble, stop stirring and let it carry on, undisturbed until it takes on a nice golden color; I cook mine until 330° F. Aim for a light golden color if you want just a hint of caramel flavor or a darker gold for some deep caramel notes.

Shut off the heat, add in the toasted pistachios and stir to coat. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, spreading into an even layer. Set aside to cool.

When the brittle has cooled completely, break into chunks and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has reduced to a powder. With the processor running, add in salt, melted white chocolate and pistachio oil. Continue processing until homogenous. If desired, add in a few drops of liquid food coloring or a small amount of gel paste to tint the mixture to a pistachio green. Obviously, this is just cosmetic but if you use a darker caramel for the brittle, it will have a dull, army green color you may want to counteract.

Store in a jar at room temperature to use as a sauce or a spread; it will keep for a week at room temperature or a month in the fridge.

To cut the gianduja into squares or diamonds, transfer the mixture to an 8” square cake pan lined with wax paper. Spread into an even layer, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate until solid. Lift the candy out, peel off the wax paper and cut as you like.

To scoop the gianduja into spheres, transfer to an unlined 8” square cake pan. Spread into an even layer, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate until solid. Use a melon baller to scrape up the chilled gianduja just as you would scoop ice cream.

gianduja truffle

Coconut Variation (pictured above)

Use 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes to replace the pistachios and coconut oil instead of pistachio oil. Because of the coconut oil, this version will be solid even at room temperature, a major bonus for truffles. If you’d rather have a creamy paste, use almond oil instead. If you’d like to amp up the coconut flavor, add in a few drops of natural coconut extract along with the oil.


Pumpkin Seed Variation

Use toasted pumpkin seeds in place of pistachios and replace the pistachio oil with pumpkin seed oil. Couldn’t be easier!


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Any questions?

Apr 16, 2012 ·  9:42 AM

So excited to see the recipe, I love pistachios and can never find delicious recipes where they are the star, now just have to find some pistachio oil in Australia

 · kate · 

Apr 16, 2012 ·  9:57 AM

I’m not surprised you sold out. My best girlfriend is from Lexington and she’s counting down the days till Mother’s Day when she returns home and takes her mom to your place. Okay, for those of us with limited funds – can you sub grapeseed oil (3 bucks at Trader’s) for pistachio oil? (Hey, at least Trader’s now sells two vanilla beans in a little pack – genius!) love, Kathryn

 · Kathryn · 

Apr 16, 2012 · 10:46 AM

@kate, pistachios are so underutilized!! Glad I’m not the only one craving them.

@Kathryn, OMG, I am terrified of the Mothers Day weekend rush at 310. Hope your friend actually gets some dessert! You can definitely substitute grapeseed or other neutral oils for the pistachio. The pistachio flavor won’t be as intense, of course, but if even with a milder flavor, it will still have a lovely flavor/texture. But someday I hope you can spring for a splash of the pistachio oil, the leftover oil is also phenomenal in salad dressing (if you need an idea how to use up the extra).


Apr 16, 2012 ·  3:10 PM

Hi -looks amazing! Are you familiar with fancy white chocolate? I heard about it at a confectioner in San Francisco but haven’t been able to find more details. Apparently it is not de-fragranced (or something) – the cocoa butter smells more chocolate-y, and the product is not suitable for beauty products. This is a terrible description, I realize…I think it might be non-deodorized? Anyway, I’ve been curious for a while, so if you know, fantastic. But if not, I can continue googling.

 · Jill · 

Apr 16, 2012 ·  6:06 PM

@Jill, oh yeah, fancy white chocolate is the only kind I know! My first thought was TCHO, but they don’t have a white chocolate. Askinosie has been making a lot of fuss over their non-deodorized white chocolate, but they’re not based in SF. El Rey’s Icoa is also a non-deodorized, but also not SF. I’ll keep thinking on it, let me know if anything rings a bell!


Apr 17, 2012 ·  5:22 AM

You can buy pistachio oil in Australia on ebay its about $20,just ordered it now!

 · Michelle · 

Apr 17, 2012 · 10:40 AM

@Michelle, thanks for sharing! I don’t know how it came to be, but I have a lot of Australian followers. Hope you like the gianduja!


Apr 17, 2012 ·  1:45 PM

Did you have this gianduja as a kind of “crumble” with your triple chocolate panna cotta at the restaurant? If yes, that was my favorite part! And if yes, then THANK YOU for this recipe!!!!

 · Allison · http://allisonswoolandflax.blogspot.com/

Apr 17, 2012 ·  5:22 PM

Not that I would ever tire of Nutella, but this is a great twist on the idea of a chocolate and nut spread. Thanks for sharing!

 · Tracy {Pale Yellow} · http://paleyellow.net

Apr 17, 2012 ·  7:54 PM

@Allison, yes! One and the same. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m totally addicted, I’ve got a coconut version on my current menu (with coffee ice cream).

@Tracy, you’re most welcome! I’m really having fun exploring the possibilities with different nut variations, it seems you just can’t go wrong.


Apr 18, 2012 ·  2:45 PM

Thanks so much! I will check those companies out. Recchuitti (sp?) was using the fancy white chocolate at a tasting event. This is so helpful!

 · Jill · 

Apr 18, 2012 ·  6:53 PM

@Jill, oh! Recchiuti is really cool. I haven’t been but keep hearing good things. I would love to check them out next time I’m in SF! Thanks for the tip.


Apr 18, 2012 ·  9:20 PM

Wow…this sounds amazing! I love pistachios, but never would have thought to make this out of them! Delicious!

 · Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake · http://www.fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com

Apr 19, 2012 · 10:42 AM

@Amy, if you like pistachio, truly, this will knock your socks off.


Apr 24, 2012 ·  2:34 PM

I have some pistachios in my freezer from Christmas—this is probably an amazing way to use them up! I might have to get me some of that oil!

 · Rachel · http://www.thegirlwiththecupcaketattoo.com

Apr 24, 2012 ·  4:10 PM

@Rachel, my local coop sells pistachio oil, so keep an eye out. You never know where you might run across some.


Apr 25, 2012 · 12:11 PM

Gracious me! This is fabulous, I can’t way to try it out myself.

 · Shelly · http://kayesyrah.blogspot.com

Apr 25, 2012 ·  5:13 PM

@Shelly, be sure to snap a pic and let me know if you do.


Apr 30, 2012 ·  9:19 AM

YUM! I love pistachios and white chocolate together. I make Elinor Klivan’s Pistachio Lace Cookies (drizzled with white chocolate) regularly & I can see this recipe being added to my repertoire… Thank you for your delicious blog.
PS. I’m in Australia too!

 · catie · 

Apr 30, 2012 · 10:54 PM

@catie, now I’m imagining those lace cookies sandwiched together around this filling!


May 01, 2012 · 11:49 PM

Thanks Stella! I posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew where I could get some locally, I ended up getting a response from a friend who works in a gourmet food store that was having a store-wide sale. I bought 2 8oz bottles for $12.99 each! Score! I will surely be blogging about this one! (Obviously giving you all the credit!) I made pistachio ice cream the other day, it was heavenly. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks again!

 · Rachel · http://thegirlwiththecupcaketattoo.com

May 02, 2012 · 10:09 AM

@Rachel, what a good deal!! This would be really good swirled in to pistachio ice cream….Pistachio squared!


May 06, 2012 ·  9:39 PM

Oh this was soooo good!!! Thanks for the amazing recipe. Had to order the oil, which is outstanding Think I will try mixing some with some SMB bet that’d be tasty. Youre the best

 · martha bakes · 

May 07, 2012 ·  4:22 PM

@martha, ahhh! I’m so glad to hear you made it! It’s so, so good in a buttercream. And pistachio gianduja buttercream would probably be killer on carrot cake….


May 10, 2012 ·  3:40 PM

Quick question: if the brittle from step one is not brittle and breakable, but a very sticky mess, what could be wrong? Caramel not cooked long enough? Brittle not cooled long enough? (I must admit I was rather impatient, but it was cool to the touch!)

It does taste amazing though!

 · cecukemon · 

May 10, 2012 ·  5:10 PM

@cecukemon, Oh no, that’s so strange! Quick question first, did you use a scale or make any substitutions? Either way, it may be that the mixture wasn’t cooked long enough, was it at least a light golden color or paler? Let me know and we can proceed diagnoses from there!


May 11, 2012 ·  2:27 PM

I used a scale (and converted everything to grams, but I trust my calculator The caramel was a very very light gold. I don’t remember how long I left it to cook, maybe 10 mins? But I remember wondering “does this qualify as light gold?” So, that points to undercooked. Oh the impatience.

Anyway, a day later and the gianduja has firmed up perfectly, now to cut it up and coat it with chocolate .. and then not eat everything at once.

 · cecukemon · 

May 12, 2012 · 12:44 PM

@cecukemon, so…the brittle did eventually firm up enough for you to grind up to make the gianduja? Converting from ounces to grams is pretty reliable, so that wouldn’t have been the issue. I’m guessing maybe it was just a bit undercooked, I’m going to go back and edit the recipe with a temperature suggestion so it’s not so subjective since it gave you trouble. But! I’m glad to hear it worked out in the end!!


Jun 08, 2012 ·  3:37 PM

made this – before the 300 degree edit. mine also never hardened. guess what? i just food processed it with the chocolate and no oil, and it still tastes fab! thanks for the update! x

 · Kathryn · 

Jun 09, 2012 · 12:17 PM

@Kathryn, I’m glad to know it worked out!! I make this recipe often at work, but I am going to go over the steps with a fine toothed comb to see if there is something amiss. The ingredient list in my notebook and the one listed here are identical; I just worry that I’ve glossed over some detail in the instructions because I’m so used to making it I haven’t thought out the explanation well enough. I’ll report back soon with my findings.


Sep 13, 2012 · 12:21 PM

wow, talk about a gorgeously delicious recipe! thanks for sharing!

 · ally · http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

Sep 13, 2012 ·  7:11 PM

Thanks, Ally! I’ve been really addicted to this one lately.


Feb 18, 2013 · 11:17 PM

mmmmm coconut you baking goddess thank you

 · martha · 

Feb 19, 2013 ·  5:27 PM

Would it be ok to substitute glucose syrup for corn syrup (for the bakers who don’t live in the land of subsidised corn farmers?!)??

 · araikwao · 

Feb 19, 2013 ·  5:39 PM

My measuring cup doesn’t have 1/2 ounce marks! Can I just round up (or down)?

 · Theo38 · 

Feb 19, 2013 ·  9:45 PM

@Araikwao, haha. You should be fine. Light or golden syrup would work well too.

@Theo38, oh no! All of the measurements in this recipe are listed by weight, so you can’t use measuring cups at all. If you’d like some more information about why that is, check out this post about the difference between ounces and fluid ounces.


Aug 09, 2013 ·  4:20 AM

Hi Stella, I noticed that a majority of your recipes use vanilla beans…can we sub vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract? Thanks and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

 · Nicole · 

Aug 09, 2013 · 10:34 AM

Hi Nicole! Aw, yeah, that’s a side effect of being a pastry chef. So used to using the beans! Generally speaking, it’s a-okay to substitute vanilla beans for extract or paste (about 2 tsp), but with hard-candy recipes it’s better to use the beans. The flavor of the vanilla extract is damaged by high heat, and the added moisture can cause the candy to have a tacky mouthfeel.

I haven’t had good luck adding vanilla to this recipe because, despite the oil, the water in the extract/paste can cause the chocolate to seize and make the paste unusually thick. Although if you like it thick then that may not be a bad thing!


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