These cardamom cookies are one part exotic flavors and one part comfort food. Infused with pistachios, they're perfect for dunking in milk and fancy enough to serve at high tea.
What is cardamom?
Cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of a particular family of plants, native to India.
In fact, India was the world's largest producer of cardamom until the late 20th century, when it's growing popularity led other countries to increase production.
Cardamom has a unique flavor and aroma that is hard to describe. It has a bit of citrus flavor - like lemon or orange - combined with an earthy, woodsy quality.
The distinctive flavor complements both savory dishes, like traditional curries, and sweet desserts - like these cardamom cookies!
Making Cardamom Cookies
As with the chai shortbread cookies I shared a while ago, these cookies are wonderfully fragrant, thanks to the addition of lemon zest and cardamom.
And I think, in addition to their beautiful buttery taste, it's the scent of lemon and cardamom that makes them so good that it's difficult to stop at one.
This recipe is very simple, as far as cookie recipe go. The only real secret here is to use high quality ingredients!
The cardamom itself is the most critical ingredient to get right. When I'm able, I like to buy mine at a local Indian grocer. I find I get the best prices there and I can count on it being really flavorful and aromatic.
I've also had good luck with the Simply Organic brand spices.
Whichever brand you choose, be sure to check the date. Spices truly do lose flavor over time - so this is not the time to dig out that expired bottle from the back of your pantry.
If you can't smell the cardamom anymore - it's not going to taste very good in your cookies.
The other important ingredient here is the pistachios! Most grocery stores carry pistachios these days.
Personally, I like to buy the pre-shelled kind. It saves me a ton of time, and saves my fingers from the pain of peeling all those nuts!
Just a note, if you are going to make these cookies, and you should, the fragrance and full flavor isn't fully realized until the day after baking.
They really need a day for the cardamom and lemon zest have time to really infuse their heady aroma. Alternately you could make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight before baking.
To dunk, or not to dunk, your cardamom cookies?
Are you a dunker?
Dunking or dipping cookies, or biscuits as my Australian friends call them, is something many of us love.
In fact, mention dunking among a group of friends and it's likely to raise debate over the best ways to dunk, and the best drink to dunk your cookies in.
For me that is without doubt a cup of tea. For my hubby it's coffee, and for others it might be milk, or even an ice cold glass of coke. (Eck!)
While dunking a cookie in coke isn't something I'm likely to try anytime soon, did you know there is scientific proof that dunking actually makes cookies taste better?
A while ago I came across this article, where the one and only inquisitive Heston Blumenthal set out to prove, scientifically whether or not dunking really does impact flavor. And it does! We were right all along.
So next time you're looking for something sweet to dunk- why not give these buttery, crumbly and fragrant pistachio and cardamom cookies a try?
If you love these cardamom cookies, be sure to check out these other desserts featuring cardamom:
- Blood Orange Madeleines with Pistachio and Cardamom
- Pear, Chocolate & Cardamom Cake
- Caramelised Orange and Cardamom upside-down cake
Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies
- Add the flour salt, confectioner's sugar, lemon zest, cardamon and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a dough forms.
- Add the pistachios and pulse again until combined.
- Remove from the food processor and roll into a log of roughly 6cm (2½ inches) in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight to allow the cardamon and lemon zest to fully infuse.
- Preheat oven to 190 celsius (375 Fahrenheit) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Slice the dough into 24 cookies and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges begin to golden.
- Cool on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.