Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Persian Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Spices can be the number one priority when it comes to a successful dish. I am one that prefers the freshest of them and that can be an issue, since most spices are not generated here in the US. I wonder that by the time a spice hits the shelf here, if it really is that fresh.

The resolve on that would be to travel the world and pick up every spice produced based on the country. What a wonderful trip that would be! The fresh spice may have a whole different flavor than the spices I get from the jar. Until I take a trip, I am resigned to at least buying at the store and making the dish that requires these ingredients all on the same day.

This particular shortbread cookie contains the exotic spices of cardamon and saffron. The resulting flavor is the earthy, pungent taste that comes from the spices that contrasts with the sweet buttery shortbread base. To tie it all together is the crunch of the pistachio nuts.

This is a far cry from chocolate chip cookies, but sometimes the exotic can break up the monotony. Once you sit down and enjoy a few of these tasty little rounds with some Turkish coffee, you may find yourself shopping for a Persian rug and some fresher spices! This recipe makes about 4 1/2 dozen small cookies.

Persian Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Silverland Bakery

1 tsp saffron
1 tsp cardamon
1 cup pistachios (salted or unsalted, chopped)
1 tsp rosewater
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Place a sieve over a bowl and sift together the powdered sugar, saffron and cardamon. Set aside. Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sifted ingredients and rosewater. Mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once combined, beat dough at medium speed for 3 minutes. The mixture will become light and fluffy.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour until no dry streaks remain. Then mix in the pistachios to distribute evenly throughout the dough.

Shape the dough into 2 round logs and wrap each in plastic film and twist or fold over the end edges of the plastic. Place in fridge for about 2 hours. After the chilling time, remove one log from the refrigerator and unwrap. Slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds and place each round on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes or until golden on bottom and edges. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Tips and Notes:
1. Pistachios are fresher when you shell them yourself instead of buying already shelled.

2. Cookies do not spread, so you can bake a number of them on one cookie sheet.

3. Do not leave dough sit out after slicing, awaiting for first batch of cookies to bake. When not in use, keep in refrigerator.

4. If you do not like saffron or find it too expensive, you can make the cookies without it.

5. The cookies are about 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter. You can make them larger, but be sure and adjust the baking time.

6. I opted to push the saffron threads through a sieve with the powdered sugar to disperse it throughout the dough. However, the saffron can be crumbled into little threads instead. The crumble method will give the dough an occassional "pop" of saffron flavor as you eat the cookie.
                                     **LAST YEAR: Spudnut Donuts**