These holidays cookies combine the light texture of whipped shortbread with ground pistachios and the sweet fragrance of cardamom. They are made entirely with whole spelt flour (though whole wheat can also be used), which gives these cookies a nutty wholesomeness. But don’t worry, they don’t have that “healthy cookie” taste, they are sweet buttery shortbread through and through.
Cookies are sacred at Christmas. My grandmother always had a few much-loved classics that she would make year after year. But each December, when we would have our annual Christmas cookie-baking marathon weekend together, she would also encourage me to find one or two entirely new and adventurous recipes to try out for the first time. That seemed to embody her overall philosophy in life: to value and cherish traditions yet always keep an open mind and open heart to new ideas. Whenever I bake holiday cookies, I think of this.
These cookies are a bit of a mix of old and new since they are loosely-based on my grandmother’s holiday classic: whipped shortbread. With the addition of one of my all-time favorite flavor combination, cardamom and pistachios, they take on a whole new persona.
What are your Christmas cookie classics?
Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Drops
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup whole spelt (or whole wheat) flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar*
- 1/2 cup ground pistachios
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios for garnish
- Using an electric mixer, whip the butter, sugar, cardamom, and ground pistachios together until smooth and creamy.
- Add the flour and mix until a uniform dough is obtained.
- With floured hands, roll into balls about an inch in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 3 inches apart.
- With your thumb, make an indentation in each ball and fill with chopped pistachios.
- Refrigerate the cookie sheet with the cookies on it for about 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan before removing.
Tips/Techniques*To make your own icing sugar, simply pulse regular white sugar in your coffee grinder or blender for a few seconds until powdery.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series was nominated for a 2014 James Beard Award. In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.