Sweet and Crunchy Cardamom Saffron Cookies

Don’t get me wrong – I will always love to chow down on a gooey, sinful, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven. So messy in such a good way.

Vertical close-up image of square cookies covered in nuts in a white bowl.

But there are times when I need a dessert that is a little more… refined. When it’s best to not have melted chocolate smeared all over your face.

Perfect for tea dates, dinner parties, bridal showers, and other special occasions, these sweet and crunchy cardamom saffron biscuits serve up spiced sophistication.

Vertical image of nut-topped cookies on display, with a blue towel and pistachios.

Ground cardamom and a pinch of lightly crushed saffron are mixed into a subtly sweet base that’s thinly rolled out and cut like sugar cookie dough.

With a light sprinkling of chopped pistachios and sea salt flakes on top, they are baked until beautifully golden in color.

Vertical image of a bowl filled with cookies on a dark wood surface surrounded by pistachios.

Once cooled, you and your guests can enjoy light, crispy, and buttery treats with a perfect blend of flavors and textures that will delight and excite!

Print
Horizontal image of cookies topped with pistachios in a white bowl.

Sweet and Crunchy Cardamom Saffron Cookies


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-12 mintues
  • Total Time: -25413396.9 minute
  • Yield: 16 cookies

Description

Looking for a unique sweet treat with a fun blend of flavors? Our thin and crunchy cardamom saffron biscuits serve up spiced sophistication.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, separated, white lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon lightly crushed saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus more for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Stir together 2 teaspoons of the sugar and the pistachios in a small bowl.
  2. Put butter and remaining sugar into the bowl on an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, cardamom, saffron, and salt. Mix until just smooth. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Sprinkle a flat work surface lightly with flour. Transfer the dough to the prepared surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Use a 2-inch square cookie cutter to cut about 16 squares. You can also use a knife or a pizza wheel. Re-roll any scraps, and cut one more time before discarding any remaining dough.
  4. Carefully transfer the cut pieces to two baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper, leaving a little space between each square. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the trays from the fridge. Brush each cookie with egg white. Sprinkle with the pistachio mixture and a little sea salt.
  6. Bake until firm and edges are pale golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure and Prep

Horizontal image of ingredients for spiced cookies on a light gray surface.

Prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Set out the unsalted butter for it to come to room temperature. Measure and finely chop the pistachios. Measure the granulated sugar, vanilla, flour, cardamom, saffron, and sea salt. Crack the egg and separate the yolk and white into two separate bowls.

Combine the pistachios with 2 teaspoons of the sugar.

Step 2 – Make the Dough

Horizontal image of cookie dough in a white bowl.

Put the room temperature butter and remaining granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour, cardamom, saffron, and salt; mix until smooth.

Step 3 – Chill Dough

Horizontal image of chilled cookie dough.

With lightly floured hands, form the dough into a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 2 hours.

Step 4 – Roll, Cut, and Chill

Horizontal image of rolled cookie dough on a cutting board with a rolling pin.

Sprinkle a flat work surface lightly with flour. Transfer the chilled dough to the prepared surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.

Use a 2-inch square cookie cutter to cut individual cookies. You can also use a knife or a pizza wheel to cut into about 12 squares. Re-roll any scraps, and cut one more time before discarding any remaining scraps. Rolling it out again will result in tough cookies, and you don’t want that.

Horizontal image of square-shaped cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.

Carefully transfer the cut pieces to the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between each square. Chill the cookies until firm, about 30 minutes.

Step 5 – Garnish

Horizontal image of a pastry brush next to a tray of square cookies topped with nuts.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove the trays from the fridge. Brush each cookie with egg white. Sprinkle with the pistachio mixture and a little sea salt.

Step 6 – Bake

Horizontal image of baked square cookies and a white towel.

Bake until firm and the edges are pale golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Spiced Sophistication, All in a Cookie!

Horizontal image of cookies topped with pistachios in a white bowl.

When you’re looking for a more sophisticated sweet ending that isn’t your typical chocolate chip cookie, cake, or brownie, definitely try this recipe for a tasty change.

Aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron, along with nutty pistachios and flaky sea salt, beautifully enhance a crispy and buttery cookie base.

To get the freshest flavor, I prefer to grind my own cardamom seeds. You can use either a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. Be prepared to have your kitchen filled with the most intoxicating fragrances!

Want to add even more unique flavors? Try adding a teaspoon of grated orange zest, or a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper.

What are your favorite desserts to serve for fancier celebrations? What do you think of this blend of spices? We’d love to read your comments below!

And don’t forget to rate our recipe!

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on October 10th, 2008. Last updated: April 26, 2018 at 14:11 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best grub, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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