Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Happy new year! I know I’ve been totally slacking on posting regularly, but I’ve come up with a few ideas to maximize my use of time, so hopefully I won’t be as negligent on here anymore (at least not for the next few months…I also have to kick the wedding planning into high gear – I’m getting married in eight months!)

Anyway, a few weekends ago, I went on a baking bender and made tons of cookies for a friend's family's holiday party as well as to take down to my fiance's family's house for Christmas (I still can’t reconcile palm trees + Christmas lights). Among the many cookies I made were these little shortbread cookies.

I've been on a huge shortbread cookie kick lately. They're incredibly easy to make and you can flavor them pretty much any way you'd like (and doing so requires minimal effort). Recent variations have included lemon-lavender, earl grey tea, pink peppercorn rose, and spiced chocolate. These, however, are my favorite - they taste like Indian sweets, but without all the ghee and nuts.

OK, who am I kidding, shortbread cookies contain a ton of butter, but butter doesn't taste as rich as ghee. And while there are nuts in these cookies, there's not a lot, and they're not actually in the cookies so much as they're on them (I didn't want to put the nuts in the dough - I was too lazy to have to alter the recipe - so I decided to put them on the edges of the cookies - it might look like it was a lot of work, but in fact it was ridiculously simple, as you'll see below). The combination of pistachios, cardamom, and rosewater is one I've used before, and it works great in these crumbly cookies. The key to these cookies is using freshly ground cardamom - the pre-ground stuff has minimal flavor and lacks the complexity of freshly ground. If you can't find cardamom pods near you, pre-ground will work just fine, just use a little more of it. The cookies won't have the same flavor, but they'll be really good, nonetheless.


Pistachio Cardamom Rose Shortbread Cookies
makes approximately 30 1 1/2" cookies

¼ cup shelled pistachios
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon rose water
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (from about 6 pods)
¼ teaspoon salt

*if using pre-ground cardamom, use a heaping ¼ teaspoon


Heat an oven to 350 F. Line one large or two medium-sized cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Add the nuts and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a spice grinder or small food processor. Pulse until the nuts are ground (but not too finely - you want some texture). Set aside.

Add the butter and remaining 5 tablespoons of sugar to a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the rosewater and mix to combine.

Sift the flour, cardamom, and salt into the mixing bowl and mix either by hand (if using a handheld mixer) or on lowest speed (if using a stand mixer) until just combined.

Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Roll the dough into a log about 1 ½” in diameter. Move the dough to the top end of the plastic wrap, then sprinkle the ground pistachio mixture in a line down the center of the plastic wrap that is the same length as the log of dough. Roll the dough down and into the ground nuts, picking up and turning over the dough as necessary until it is evenly coated. Wrap the dough, place it on a sheet pan, and freeze for 15 minutes.

When the dough is chilled, slice it into rounds between ¼” and ½” thick and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1" between each. Bake until just lightly golden around the edges, about 11 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Anonymous said...

Those look delicious! Cardamom is awesome and boy I need to get some rosewater!

Sophie said...

I like the idea of putting the pistachios on the outside instead. It makes the cookies look elegant! :)

nilesh said...

so i got my cookies after 2 weeks of them sitting in the post office. they still are awesome. my favorite cookie in the box.

malini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
malini said...

Roopa made a whole bunch of cookies for the holidays. Pistachio cardamom cookies were the best and the next best were those cranberry pistachio biscotti.

lisa (dandysugar) said...

I love pistachios and cardamom. These look really delicious.

Meghan said...

these look fantastic...
i need rosewater ...every time you use it..i think to get some.

mangoesandblueberries said...

When do you add the ground cardamom?

roopa said...

Oops, forgot to include that in the recipe. Thanks for pointing that out! It gets sifted in along with the flour and salt (I just edited the recipe to indicate that).

Rumela said...

This Pistachio cardamom shortbread cookies looks so beautiful with the colors, I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the kids! Although I'm to a big fan of cookies, this sure looks yummy! ooooooooh! My mouth is watering. thank you for shearing your post.

LaWoodstock said...

These cookies looks delicious!! I'm going to bake them soon :)

Anonymous said...

I made these as Christmas cookies this year and took them along when I went to visit my friend for the holiday. She's a real foodie. On the second morning of my visit, as we (again) sat eating the cookies and drinking coffee, she said "these could win awards". I can't take the credit -- it's a fabulous recipe! I really liked your method, with the short time in the freezer instead of a couple of hours in the fridge. I used it with Alice Medrich's bourbon pecan shortbread (also very good) and they turned out much better than when I used the method her recipe calls for (with melted butter and 2 hours in the refrigerator). Thanks for posting the recipe! I'll try the cherry chocolate chips next.

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