These cardamom spice shortbread cookies have a wonderful crisp texture and
buttery flavor. The bonus is this recipe is simple, and easy to make. Cardamom is
typical in many authentic Middle-eastern desserts, and this recipe is specific to
the region I was born in: Mosul, Iraq. And I'm super excited to share it with you! If you love cardamom, you have to add my Cardamom and Tahini Energy Date Balls to your snack list.
One day I was on a call with my dad and my relatives back home in Iraq. Luckily, my aunt who is famous for making this rich Iraqi cookie was on the phone! We ended up getting the exact recipe from her and I had to make it straight away. I'm so glad I did because I discovered how easy it is.
This shortbread is unique in that it's not the bright white color that most shortbread cookies are. It's a slightly "tan" color due to the ground cardamom and also due to baking it to a light golden color. You can buy ready ground cardamom (like this one) but if you grind your own it'll definitely be even better!
I have so many other delicious middle eastern dessert recipes, but my Iraqi Soda Cookie recipe has to be another favorite.
How to make Cardamom Shortbread
I personally find shortbread extremely easy to make, once you get used to how the texture of the dough should feel. It can be a little tricky to get it right, because a really soft dough may melt into a puddle in the oven, and a dry dough won't melt in your mouth and give you that dreamy shortbread texture. My first attempt turned into a puddle because I had too much butter to the flour ratio. Here are the steps you need to follow for this cardamom shortbread:
- Start with room temperature butter cut into cubes. It's important that the butter is not too soft! Otherwise it will melt a lot quicker in the oven and yield a cookie that spreads out too much
- To the butter, add the confectioner's sugar and mix with an electric mixture until they're well combined and a pale yellow. You can't really use granulated sugar here because it won't blend into the butter as well
- Then you add the egg, baking powder and cardamom powder and give it another little whizz using the mixer until combined
- Now is the part where you gradually add your flour, I'd say half a cup at a time, and mix it well using your hands
- Keep adding the flour until the dough starts to take shape and is no longer sticky on your hands. It needs to come away from your hands when you mix it and form a smooth dough
- Now you can shape it into medium sized balls (about 1.5 tbsp) and place them on a lined baking sheet
- Flatten them slightly into small discs and press the almond in the middle of each cookie
- Bake them at 350F (a high oven temperature will cook the outside faster than the inside) and watch the bottoms. Move to broil for a few minutes once the bottom of the cookies are a light golden color
- Broil until the tops are lightly golden and toasted looking and then take the cookies out to cool on the counter
The whole process of making this cardamom shortbread takes about 10 minutes to make the cookies, and then 25 minutes to bake them. So quick and easy!
FAQs and Expert Tips
What is cardamom spice? What does it taste like? Cardamom is a plant that you pick the green pods from. It has a unique taste that has hints of similarities to allspice, coriander, nutmeg and pepper.
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If you tried these recipes, please consider leaving a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page - I'd love to hear from you! You can also hop on over to Instagram and say hello!
Cardamom Spice Shortbread Cookies
- 1.5 cups unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup confectioner's sugar powdered sugar
- ½ egg mixed
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp ground cardamom
- 2 ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp flour
- 16 peeled and halved almonds unpeeled works too
- Start by preheating the oven to 350F
- Cut up room temperature butter into cubes and add to a bowl
- Add the powdered sugar to the butter and beat using an electric mixer for about a minute until well combined and the mixture is pale yellow
- Add the baking powder, cardamom and half the egg and mix well using the electric mixture for 20 more seconds until well combined
- Gradually add the flour ½ cup at a time and mix with your hands. Incorporate all of the flour well before adding the next ½ cup
- Keep mixing with your hands until all the flour is added and you reach a firm but soft dough
- The dough should not be sticking to your hands and should come together and be easy to shape into balls. However don't add too much flour as that will make the shortbread tougher
- Form into medium sized balls (about 1.5 tbsp) and place on a lined baking sheet
- Press the balls down slightly to form a disc shape and press half an almond in the middle
- Bake for about 20-25 on the bottom rack until are the bottom is lightly golden. Broil for 2-3 minutes to get a light golden color on the top (you can keep them on the bottom rack so you don't risk them becoming too dark)
- Allow to cool and enjoy! Store in an airtight container
- You may need to add slightly less or more flour, depending on the type you have. It's important to not add too much in order to achieve a "melt in your mouth" texture. Add enough until the dough no longer sticks but is still soft
- It's also important to use room temperature butter. If the butter is too soft, it will affect the texture of the dough
I’d like to make these to have on hand for unexpected guests. Do you think they’d freeze okay?? Love your recipes!
Amina Al-Saigh says
Yes absolutely! Freeze them after baking and allowing them to completely cool. Flash freeze them on a single layer cookie sheet, then you can pop them into a freezer bag to save space.
Loved loved love these cookies. They were a big hit in the family. ????
Thank you so much for the feedback Rama - so happy your family enjoyed them! 🙂
Best melt in your mouth cookie! Thanks for recipe followed it exactly and turned out perfect. I just left out the egg 🙂
Thanks for the lovely review! 🙂
These cookies are phenomenal! Super easy to make, and the perfect balance of sweetness and cardamom-ness!
Hi Salwa - I'm so glad you liked them! Thanks for the lovely review 🙂
As always your recipes never ever everrrrrr disappoint. Like honestly now it's past just praising you for your amazing recipes but I also have to thank you for seeing my dad's happiness at experiencing the authentic taste of back home time and time again, it's truly heart touching. These were exactly like the ones in Iraq, the best ever shortbread cookies on GOD!!!! Thank you so so much ❤️❤️❤️ (PS. I skipped the egg and can thankfully confirm absolutely nothing was compromised!)
Zahra - I am SO glad your dear father got to enjoy these and that they bring back memories from back home! This means the world to me. I'm also so glad the skipping eggs worked out for you! Thanks for your kind feedback on my recipes, as always, I really appreciate it.
Umm Ibrahim says
Tried it, they were Amazing!! best paired with tea♡♡♡♡
Thank you so much for the great review! I totally agree - tea is a must!
Nouran Abdelkader (@nouriska_) says
I made these cookies for eid and I couldn’t help myself but eat at least 5 cookies on the night I baked them. It has the best texture and the taste of cardamom is just right, not too little and not too cardamomy lol . I have passed this recipe to everyone I know because it is that good. Will definitely make it again and again !
Thank you Amina :))
Just tried the recipe. The cookies turned out really good. ????????Thanks so much for sharing. JazakAllah khair. Everyone should try these 🙂
I am so glad you enjoyed the cookies Adiba! Makes me so happy to hear!
I am so so glad you enjoyed it Nouran!! Thanks so much for your lovely review!
How do you half the egg?
Hey Reem! Just whisk the egg together in a bowl then add only half the mixed amount. You can be approximate with it!