We’re combining cultures today with these cardamom shortbread cookies! I love the lightly spicy flavors of cardamom and cinnamon, so often used in Finnish baking, but I wanted to use them in a cookie that didn’t require rolling out dough. I wondered if those flavors might pair well with the richness and tenderness of a shortbread instead-and they do!
Shortbread is Scottish in origin, dating back to Mary, Queen of Scots. In its most traditional form it contains only three ingredients- salted butter, flour, and sugar. Though these ingredients are easily accessible to most today, this was not the case in the past! Shortbread was a luxury, meant for special occasions only.
Why is it called shortbread, anyway?
If you’ve watched The Great British Bake Off or similar shows, maybe you’ve heard the word “short” used as a description of a texture, often of pastry. “Short” refers to the texture of dough containing a high portion of fat compared to butter. They’re crumbly and rich doughs. They also tend toward crispness instead of chewiness, though the inclusion of almond flour in this recipe adds a little chewiness back in. Shortbread is a very literal name for a very short delicacy.
Equipment for cardamom shortbread cookies
Ingredients in cardamom shortbread cookies
- All purpose flour
- Almond flour
- Granulated sugar
- Butter: I highly recommend unsalted. If you must use salted, omit the salt.
- Fine sea salt
- Vanilla extract or paste
- Ground cardamom
- Ground cinnamon
In a simple recipe like this, ingredients have the chance to shine. This is the place to use high quality ingredients! Good vanilla and good butter will seriously shine through here and will impact your final product. Don’t be discouraged if all you’ve got are the basics, though-I’ve made this recipe with all Great Value products and they still turned out super tasty. For a butter upgrade, I love Kerrygold; I can’t claim to be a connoisseur of fine vanilla extracts (yet) but I’ve seen this one highly recommended.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Lightly butter an 8×8 pan and set aside.
Place both flours, sugar, salt and spices in food processor and pulse until fully combined.
Cut butter (I’ve had my best results with cool butter) into cubes and add to food processor, along with vanilla. Pulse until fully combined. The mixture will be a kind of coarse mealy texture.
Dump the dough into the prepared pan. Press into the pan. I like using an offset spatula to press in evenly.
If you want, you can prick the dough with a fork for a traditional shortbread cookie look. It won’t affect how the dough bakes if you do or don’t.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. The edges will be golden brown and lightly crispy. Allow to cool on the oven or a hot pad for a few minutes before transferring to the fridge to chill until fully cooled. You could allow to cool to room temperature on the counter instead, but I find the fridge improves the texture.
Slice into cookies and enjoy. These are melt-in-your-mouth good and a delightful accompaniment to coffee, tea, or milk!
- 1.5 cups (188g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (120g) almond flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (16 Tbsp/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Lightly butter or grease an 8x8 pan and set aside.
- Add all purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, salt, and spices to a food processor. Pulse until combined.
- Cut cool butter into cubes. Add to food processor along with vanilla. Pulse until fully combined- will have a coarse meal appearance
- Dump all the batter into the prepared pan. Flatten- I like to use an offset spatula.
- If you want a traditional shortbread look, prick with a fork to create holes. This won't affect how it bakes, however.
- Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes.
- After removing, let cool on the oven or a hot pad for a few minutes, and then transfer to the fridge to chill until fully cool (you can skip this and let cool fully at room temperature, but using the fridge makes for a chewier texture).
- Slice into cookie bars and enjoy!
1. You can omit the cinnamon & cardamom, and double the vanilla for a more traditional shortbread flavor. Both versions are excellent.
2. Use your nicest ingredients! In a simple recipe like this, quality ingredients shine. Don't skip it if you don't have anything fancy, though-they'll be good either way.
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How did they turn out? Let me know in the comments!
Ready for another cardamom-flavored dessert? Let me suggest this cake!
Or, if you’re on a cookie streak, try out these.