This recipe for pistachio and cardamom shortbread cookies has been tossing around my head for months. I could imagine what they would taste like: buttery-sweet shortbread with a hint of cardamom, encased with a ring of salted pistachio.
Cardamom was a little difficult to track down. My grocery store didn’t carry it in the spice section, so I ended up purchasing a bottle of organic ground cardamom on Amazon.
I used salted pistachios in this recipe, because I prefer a little salt in my sweets. It brings out the buttery taste of the shortbread and plays up the nutty pistachio crust. Use unsalted pistachios if you want a less savory version.
These cookies were fun to make. The dough is easy to work with and once you roll it up in plastic wrap and allow it to chill, cutting the cookies is a snap. To get that beautiful pistachio crust, the chilled dough log is rolled back and forth in crushed pistachios right before slicing the cookies and baking them. A single whole pistachio pressed into the center puts them over the top.
As I was photographing the cookies, my 15-month-old snuck his little hand into the shot. At first, I pushed his little grabby fingers away, but eventually let him steal a cookie. How could I not? The resulting image melts my heart. I just love those fat little fingers!
My whole family loved this recipe and I hope you do too. The cookies aren’t too sweet, and they are full of sweet nutty flavor. Enjoy!
Yield: 24 cookies
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter until light in color and smooth. Add the vanilla bean seeds, orange zest, salt and cardamom.
Sift together the powdered sugar and flour. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it comes together into a dough. Form into a log about 2 inches thick and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
Unwrap the cookie log and allow to soften for 5-10 minutes, enough so the outside becomes slightly tacky. Roll the log in the chopped pistachios, pressing down softly so there is a thick coating. Slice into 1/4-inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet 1-inch apart. Press a whole pistachio into the middle of each cookie.
Bake for 10-20 minutes until the edges are very slightly brown, rotating the pan halfway through.
Recipe adapted from Saffron and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies by Yossy Arefi