December 2018 – Brown Sugar & Cardamom Shortbreads

Brown Sugar & Cardamom Shortbreads

Makes about 16 shortbreads

240g plain flour
0.2g (pinch) of salt
10g (4 tsp) ground cardamom (pods/seeds)
175g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar

To Finish

30g caster sugar
5g (2 tsp) ground cardamom (pods/seeds)
spray grease or 1 tbsp of vegetable oil for greasing the biscuit stamp

1. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and place aside.
2. Mix the 5g of the cardamom with the 30g of caster sugar for finishing & place aside.
3. Sift the flour, salt & 10g of cardamom onto a sheet baking parchment & place aside.
4. Soften the butter slightly and place into the bowl for a stand mixer.
5. Add the brown sugar and beat for 5-6 minutes until very light.
6. Scrape down and add the dry ingredients in one go.
7. Mix carefully until a paste is formed.
8. Scale the paste into 30g balls and mould round.
9. Place half the balls of dough on each tray spaced apart.
10. Lightly spray grease a biscuit stamp then dip in the sugar and cardamom mix.
11. Immediately press into the ball of dough and press gently rocking from side to side.
12. Dip the stamp in the sugar between pressings until all the biscuits have been stamped.
13. Chill the trays for 30 minutes.
14. Bake at 150°C for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
15. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes and then transfer onto a cooling wire.
16. When completely cool place into an airtight box.

Cardamom is an ingredient I adore; its pungent lively flavour lifts this humble shortbread to a new level. This recipe is unusual in that it uses light brown sugar instead of white caster sugar which gives the shortbread an unusual and less sweet flavour which marries beautifully with the buttery biscuit and the sugary cardamom top.

I believe this recipe originates from Norway, or perhaps Sweden, where cardamom is a much used and loved ingredient. The aroma that fills your kitchen as these biscuits bake is just wonderful. These biscuits are perfect with a coffee, the only problem you will have is trying not to eat too many!

Tim’s Tips

• I use the biscuit stamps from Nordic Ware. Lightly grease the stamp first then dip into the cardamom sugar and gently rock the stamp downwards on the shortbreads to ensure a clean release. Dip the stamp in the sugar between pressing each biscuit, don’t press too flat, about 5cm across is perfect.

• If you don’t have a stamp just press the biscuits onto the trays with the heel of your hand and dust the cardamom sugar on top then mark by pressing a fork in a criss cross pattern on the top, chill well before baking to preserve the stamp marks.

• Buy whole cardamom pods grind and sieve to obtain the correct weight, the flavour from using the whole pod is so much better than just using ground cardamom which only uses the seeds.

• Don’t store these in a box with other biscuits as the cardamom flavour will taint the other biscuits. If you are not that keen on cardamom try using nutmeg or cinnamon.

• These shortbreads keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.

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