I’ve been on a cookie tear recently, and it’s reminded me just how much I love shortbread. It’s arguably the best cookie in the world, especially when made with the very best ingredients. Butter, sugar and flour, that’s it, and each has to be of the highest quality to shine.
The way I like to jazz up shortbread is by simply adding spices to it and treating it like an eating utensil for ice cream. Cardamom Shortbread Cookies is inspired by ginger crunch cookies from New Zealand, one my favorites. I add cardamom and ginger to the basic shortbread dough and then add a touch of sea salt on top. This headily spiced cookie is the perfect foil for vanilla ice cream, but would also pair well with chocolate, strawberry or any classic, mellow ice cream flavor.
As the weather warms up, this is my preferred afternoon or weekend treat to get a break from the heat. Use this base recipe to play around with other spices you like, and create your own crunchy shortbread to keep around for whenever that craving hits.
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Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup sugar
1/2 pound (two sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups flour
1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Fleur de sel or sea salt, to taste
- Combine the sugar, butter, cardamom, ginger and salt in a large bowl, and using a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and beat on low speed until just combined. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 8” x 8” baking pan, and press evenly into the bottom to create an even, thick layer.
- Heat oven to 350° F. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash evenly over the surface of the cookie dough and then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, and then use parchment paper to lift out cookies; cut into 2-inch triangles or whatever shape you like.
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