Shortbread is originally a Scottish butter cookie but has been adapted to different cultures and cuisines by the addition of spices, oils and nuts. The Middle Eastern version, called Ghoraibi, is frequently spiced with cardamom, scented with a bit of rose water or topped with almonds.
Pistachios, however, are a classic Middle Eastern nut and make a lovely addition to this dessert. The dough is easy and quick to put together, uses a minimum of ingredients and doesn't spread when baking. The scent of cardamom rises up from the otherwise plain dough and the extra crunch of nuts goes will with the cookie's smooth texture. The final result is a buttery, slightly crumbly treat that's perfect with a pot of coffee or tea.
- 1 Stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
- 2 Cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 Cup chopped pistachios, divided
Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and, using a stand or hand mixer, cream together. Mix in the vanilla and milk.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and cardamom. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and fold in half the chopped pistachios. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When ready to make the cookies, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface till it's approximately an 8" circle.
Use a cookie or biscuit cutter (approx. 2 1/2") to cut out rounds. Place the remainder of the chopped pistachios in a bowl and gently dip the edges of the rounds into the nuts.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 - 22 minutes. After baking, allow the cookies to cool and firm up before removing them from the baking sheet.