Many of my friends around the world are celebrating Diwali today; the Hindu Festival of Lights. During this time friends exchange sweets and gifts, and light oil lamps to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into their homes. Try this slightly sweet Cardamom shortbread recipe with a few threads of saffron so that you may share your wishes of prosperity with all. And as as my Texan friend, Huma–now living in Dubai, says, Happy Diwali ya’ll!
For the shortbread:
1 ½ cups plain flour (or a mixture of rice flour and plain flour)
1 1/8 cups cold butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of dried rose petals, crumbled (wash and dry your own or buy from Indian and Iranian supermarket like Kalustyan’s in Manhattan)
4 cardamom pods, roughly chopped and crushed seeds or pulse in spice mill
1/4 teaspoon rosewater (do not add more or cookies will taste like perfume)
In a bowl, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs (chop the butter into small pieces first to make it easier). Add the rose petals, cardamom and powdered sugar, then combine with your hands until the dough starts to come together. Pour in the rosewater until a firm dough is formed, but avoid working it too much.
Flour a clean surface and roll out the pastry until around 1/8 inch thick. Cut into regular shapes – either with a fluted circular cookie cutter, or if you don’t have one, the rim of a small mug or glass. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the cut cookies an inch or two apart. Chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes, until nice and cold and firm. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F.
For the icing:
2/3 powdered sugar
1/4 cup of water
Pinch of salt
A few drops of rose water
S0me threads of saffron and more rose petals for garnish
Once hot, bake the cookies for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and ice.
For the icing, add the powdered sugar into a bowl, add the water in three parts while working in the water. If too thick, add more water–if too thin, add more sugar. Once smooth add a pinch of sea salt and a few sparing drops of rose water.
Once shortbread of cooled, ice the cookies and sprinkle with a few crumbled rose petals and saffron threads before the icing dries. Serve with a cup of Indian chai tea.