Pull out your favorite tea for this pretty and irresistible cookie. These rose cardamom cookies have lovely floral notes from rose water and cardamoms spicy sweetness. Have fun garnishing with your favorite topping, or leave them plain. They are delicious either way! Try my cardamom spice cookies and cardamom crunch almond cupcakes too.
About This Recipe
Sablé means sand in French, which is their name for shortbread. This helps explain the texture of these cookies. They are at once tender, crumbly, and crunchy with a lovely melt-in-your-mouth quality. You will make these delightful cardamom cookies over and over.
And if you are familiar with the Parsi treat nankhatai, this cardamom cookie is very similar in flavor. The foundation for this recipe came from the excellent Parsi food blog created by Rita Kapadiea of Parsi Cuisine.
I always fantasize about living a life that allows me to have time for afternoon tea with a beloved sister, friend, or neighbor, even on a weekday. There are far more civilized cultures that build this luxury into their day. Unfortunately, I have yet to make this happen. A perfect cookie for such an occasion, or just your average day when you need a treat.
Why You Should Make these Cookies
- A quick and easy recipe to mix up and there is no chilling time
- Beautifully flavored with floral and spicy notes
- They are sweet but not too sweet
- And they are small enough to have several
Unlike most cookies, there is no baking soda or powder. And to get that appealing sandy texture, some of the regular sugar is replaced with powdered sugar.
Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour and salt
Wet ingredients: Egg yolks or yogurt, granulated and confectioners sugar, and butter
Flavorings: Ground cardamom and rose water
Ingredients for the cookies.
Optional toppings: These cookies are delightful on their own, but pistachios and either food-grade dried rose petals or candied petals are especially lovely. I have found trying to find pistachios with a bright green color nearly impossible. If you have a source, I would love to hear about it.
How to Make
Working with room temperature butter, cream the butter and sugars together. In a stand mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth but not fluffy.
Add the egg yolk (or yogurt), rose water, and cardamom. Mix just until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and add all of the flour. Turn the mixer to low, and mix until all the flour is moistened.
Mixing in the egg yolks.
Shape into balls and press to flatten.
Shape into balls and place on a lined baking sheet, spacing cookies with 2 inches between them. Using the bottom of a glass, press down on each cookie until it is about 1/3- thick. If you prefer a thinner crispier cookie press a bit thinner: about 1/4-inch.
Garnish as you wish, or not. Feel free to substitute pistachios with almonds or your favorite nut.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The YouTube channel Rajan Singh Jolly shows you how to make powdered sugar!
If you want to use a different spice you'll need to rename your cookies. Allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg will all be yummy.
Eight cardamom pods equal 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom.
Yes, a hand mixer works well, or with some good elbow grease, you can make them by hand.
No, the whole cardamom works beautifully.
Tips and Tricks
These are simple cookies but you can make them even better with the following tips:
- Take your butter out of the refrigerator the night before you are baking. Or microwave the butter for just a few seconds. Room temperature butter, but not melted, is crucial.
- You can certainly use store-bought ground cardamom, but toasted and freshly ground carmamom will take these little gems to new heights.
- Using confectioners sugar is key to a crumbly shortbread texture. If you don't have it, please see my FAQ section. You can still make these cookies!
The raw cookie dough will keep in the refrigerator for two days, (but let it come to room temperature before shaping into balls), and in the freezer for two months. Baked, the cookies will stay fresh for four days at room temperature, and in the freezer for up to two months.
More cookie recipes
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Please rate by clicking stars ⭐️ on the recipe card and/or let me know in the comments below. Thank you! ~Alonna
Recipe Card 📖
Indian Rose Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
- 2 sticks butter ~ Room temperature, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar ~ Sifted. You can make it! See Notes below.
- 1/2 teaspoon table or sea salt
- 2 large egg yolks ~ Or 2 tablespoons thick yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom ~ About 8 pods; see Notes below
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup raw pistachios ~ Finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons candied rose petals ~ Optional
- Gather all your ingredients, making sure the butter is at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- If toasting and grinding your own cardamom, over medium heat in a small skillet, toast 8 cardamon pods until a shade darker and very aromatic. This will take about 3 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter, sugars, and salt to the bowl. (You can also use a hand mixer.) Beat on medium speed until smooth but not fluffy; about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Turn down mixer speed to low and add the egg yolk (or yogurt), rose water and cardamom. Mix just until incorporated.
- Turn off mixer and add all of the flour. Turn mixer to low, and mix until all the flour is moistened. Do not overmix or your cookies will be tough.
- Shape into balls 1 1/4-inch across (25 grams), place on the lined baking sheet, spacing cookies with 2 inches between them. Using your fingers, press down on each cookie until it is about 1/3- thick. Pat gently around the edges if the cookie cracks. If you prefer a thinner, crispier cookie press a bit thinner: about 1/4-inch.
- Sprinkle the tops with chopped pistachios and candied rose petals, if using.
- Bake for 6 minutes, turn the tray around so the cookies will bake evenly, and start checking the cookies in 4 more minutes. You are looking for the slightest bit of golden brown around the edges, but the rest of the cookie will not have changed color. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Keeping: The raw dough will keep in the refrigerator for two days, (but let the dough come to room temperature before shaping into balls), and the freezer for 2 months. Baked, the cookies will stay fresh for 4 days at room temperature, and in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- If you prefer and eggless cardamom cookies, substitute 2 tablespoons of yogurt for the 2 egg yolks, and the cookies come out perfectly.
- If you don't have confectioners (powdered sugar) you can make it. See the YouTube channel's Rajan Singh Jolly for how.
- I like to toast the cardamom pods over medium heat for a couple of minutes just until browning slightly, then grind in a spice grinder. The shell will naturally separate and you can discard it. It is also okay to leave some of the shells in. I use a small sieve to remove larger pieces of spice that don’t break down and give them another whirl in the grinder. If you are using purchased cardamom, make sure it is still fresh and flavorful, as this spice is the queen of your cookie. IMPORTANT: if you are using freshly ground cardamom, use a scant 1/2 teaspoon; if using purchased ground cardamom, use a full teaspoon.
- I use raw pistachios for their bright green color, but if you can’t find them, or prefer toasted pistachios, go for it. As you can see, I did not go to the trouble of skinning my pistachios but just pull off the loose and easily removed skins.
- For the rose water used in this recipe, I like the Cortas rose water found in Indian and Middle Eastern shops or on Amazon.
- Feel free to make these cookies daintier or bigger if you prefer.