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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lemony Pistachio and Cardamom Shortbread

I ran across this gorgeous, practically brand new, vintage cookie mold from the 80's by "Brown Bag Cookie Art", at the goodwill store.  The Scottish Thistle design is incredibly ornate, imparting the same design onto your dough.  I had been thinking about shortbread, shortbread cookies and such, as it was around the holiday.  Shortbread was to be included with the cookie bundles I planned to give out to my family and friends. 
Somehow, my cookie plan's applecart was upset, partly because the kids were eating them as fast as I could bake them, and also from some erratic time management or should I say mismanagement! Anywho, the cute little brownies were the first baked and first to go and It seemed as if I was making myself more stressed than necessary, considering how crazy stressful  the holidays can be.  So, to save the ship, I chucked the cookie plans overboard and settled for only the shortbread.   I had not made shortbread before, so I started out with some extensive reading and researching my older cookbooks and magazines for earlier versions as well as its origins and history.
Once I satisfied my curiosity, I was able to create a recipe exemplary of my experience and desire to have it represent my style, which brings us to the recipe below. 
My mom and I enjoyed it with hot tea and coffee and my daughter enjoyed them with her cocoa. Heck, we enjoyed it by itself!   I was certain that the shortbread was even better the next day and it disappeared quickly, which is a good sign.

Lemon juice imparts brightness and tang, plus antioxidants and vitamin c. I had both ground and cardamom pods on hand and they complement lemon very well, mimicking the same flavor. This last restock,  I ordered the cardamom pods from Sri Lanka, always having some on hand because it is a key ingredient in one of my other quite popular and well received dishes I create, Roasted Pumpkin Cream Pie. 
 I used my mortar and pestle to crush the pod, which I remove and grind the little lemony, warm spice pebbles on the inside. The smell of freshly crushed cardamom is AHHmazing! It puts the pre ground stuff to shame compared, even the more expensive kinds.   This is a no fuss recipe, big on return, simple and inexpensive.  Aside from maybe the cardamom, all the other ingredients are pantry staples.  I like to use Pistachio extract because it imparts a very cherry flavor profile, but you may use more vanilla in its place if you like.

Recipe:
2 c. plus 1/4 c. AP flour, unbleached
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt, I used Himalayan Pink salt, fine grain
 2 stick plant butter or margarine, I used almond
1/2 c. pure cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. fresh Lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp. pure Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Pistachio extract
1/2 tsp. ground Cardamom

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325*F.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients until well mixed.
In another bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add extracts, juice and zest.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and turn out on lightly floured surface.
Knead for several minutes until smooth and press into cookie mold.
Make lots of holes in the shortbread all over.
Bake until golden, about 40 minutes, if using a ceramic cookie mold, 25 minutes for metals.
Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack and allow shortbread to cool completely before serving.
Cut along lines into wedges.
Serve with coffee or hot tea or as is. 
Serves Many.




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Smokinhotchef
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