Nowruz Inspired Pistachio, Rosewater and Cardamom Shortbread Cookies


The Persian New Year (Nowruz) is one week away and the lead up to the holiday is a very exciting time for Iranians living in Iran and abroad. This year I’m thrilled to be participating in a Nowruz Recipe Round-up with my fellow Persian food bloggers around the world. Community is a very important foundation for Iranians and I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful community of Persian food enthusiasts. Each blogger has contributed a recipe for the upcoming New Year season. You will find the list at the end of this post and I encourage you to click on the links and discover delicious recipes from these amazing ladies.

This year my mother wanted to start a new tradition for Nowruz. In the past, my parents generally served store-bought traditional New Year cookies. Inspired by my Canadian side’s Christmas baking tradition, my mother suggested we all contribute one home-baked cookie or treat to be served to visiting Nowruz guests . My mother is going to make traditional Shirni-Kishmishi.  My sister-in-law will be making her delicious chocolate truffles. My five-year old daughter (with my help) will make her favourite soft sugar cookies with red, green and white sprinkles to symbolize the Iranian flag and I will be making these Persian Inspired Pistachio, Rosewater and Cardamom Shortbread Cookies.

These fragrant, buttery yet light shortbread cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. These cookies are very simple to prepare and the best part is that the dough can be made ahead of time and frozen. All you have to do is defrost overnight, slice and bake.  I highly suggest using Iranian pistachios for this recipe. I personally prefer them to their California counterpart and find that they have a very distinctive flavour.

These shortbread cookies are so delicious that I think they might join our Christmas cookie lineup as well!

Pistachio, Rosewater & Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
(approximately 48 cookies)

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shelled salted pistachios (preferably Iranian), coarsely chopped

Using a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter for about one minute on medium speed.


Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar, rosewater and cardamom. Turn the mixer to low so the sugar doesn’t spray everywhere. When the sugar begins to incorporate, turn the mixer to medium and beat for 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.


Turn off the mixer and add the flour. Mix on low-speed until just incorporated. The mixture will be slightly crumbly. Do not overmix or it will result in a tough cookie.


Add the pistachios and turn the mixer on to low and mix until the pistachios are distributed.  Again, do not overmix.


Divide the dough in half and roll into a log approximately 12 inches long on top of a large rectangular piece of wax paper. Roll the cookie dough log in the wax paper and twist the ends.


Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until completely firm. You may also freeze the dough by putting the log into an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 3 weeks. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 1/4 inch pieces.


Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat and arrange cookies spaced out one inch apart. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are starting to very slightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.



Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

Nowruz Recipe Roundup


17 thoughts on “Nowruz Inspired Pistachio, Rosewater and Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

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  3. Farnaz, This Persian ingredients inspired shortbread is brilliant. I just saw Sanam’s walnut cookies, Azitas tut/marzipan mulberry, and I know by the time I make my rounds of the recipe round-up, I will have an outstanding list of sweets to make for Nowruz. Thank you for sharing.
    ~ Fae

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  9. I love the idea of starting your own traditions, and this is definitely the kind of tradition I can get behind… one that is primarily butter 🙂 I will definitely be making these!!

  10. Pingback: Recipe Roundup Nowruz 2014 | ZoZo BakingZoZo Baking

  11. What a great tradition to start, and how wonderful that even your 5-year-old will participate! Thanks for sharing this recipe, I love a good butter cookie, and with rosewater, cardamom, and pistachios these have a fragrant Persian twist. -Louisa

  12. Pingback: Loze Nargil – Persian Coconut Sweets with Rosewater and Pistachios for Nowruz | Flüchtlingshilfe Iran e.V. 2010

  13. I love the cookies & your new tradition. I’ll definitely try your recipe, the combination of Cardamom and pistachio is heavenly. Thanks for the recipe and Happy Nowruz 🙂

  14. Pingback: Naan Gerdooee ~ Persian Walnut Cookie

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