Walnut and Cardamom Shortbread

There are eleventy-two variations provided on my gluten-free Sablé shortbread recipe but still I wondered ‘what else?’ Nuts! Cardamom & walnut are oft-used together in Persian cooking, so I opted for that combo, with an icing drizzle.

The dough should be made in advance, and stored in the fridge or freezer until ready for baking.

Makes: 30+ biscuits depending on size/thickness


Ingredients

  • 290g gluten-free flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (only if your GF flour is plain, not self-raising)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (3-4 green pods, seeds removed and heartily crushed)
  • 150g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 110g sugar (golden caster, ideally; but white caster will do)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (62–70g when weighed in its shell)
  • 1 small orange: 1/2 of finely grated zest, and juice
  • 45g walnuts, very finely chopped
  • 125g icing sugar (or less: see Garnish Option footnote)

Kit

  • 2 baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper to line both trays, plus additional for rolling
  • 3 mixing bowls: 1 large, 1 medium, and 1 small
  • An electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if not creaming butter/sugar by hand
  • Mortar & pestle (if crushing whole cardamom pods)
  • A nut/coffee grinder (if you don’t want to chop the nuts by hand)
  • A sieve
  • A cooling rack

Steps

  1. Line both baking trays with paper. Cut an additional piece of paper about 15″ square.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder (if using), and spices into a medium bowl, and mix with a fork. Get a sieve ready.
  3. Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium-low speed until creamy. Add the beaten egg and orange zest, and continue whisking until fluffy. Add the chopped nuts and fold manually until they’re evenly distributed.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir manually just until fully combined.
    (Although this is gluten-free and therefore over-mixing shouldn’t be a problem, this is still traditional shortbread – so mix until it’s just fully come together into a dough.)
  5. Put the dough onto your paper square, and massage with your hands into a smooth log about 12″ long. Roll the paper tightly over the log to cover it, twist the ends like a Christmas cracker, then put the dough into the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour. (This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 3 months, in a sealed plastic bag.)
  6. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
  7. Roll the dough log free from the paper, cut into 1/4″ slices, and place the discs on the lined baking trays 5 x 3. (When baked from chilled, they hardly spread.) If you have more discs than will fit, put the rest back into the fridge.
  8. Bake for 10-11 minutes (up to 15 minutes for thicker slices), until lightly browned and feeling firm. Remove the trays from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before removing the biscuits to a cooling rack. If you have remaining discs, let the trays cool for 5 more minutes before loading up again, and baking.
  9. Once the biscuits are fully cooled, mix the icing sugar with 1 & 1/2 tablespoons orange juice. Add water 1/2 tsp at a time until you have your preferred drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the biscuits to decorate.

Nut Options
You could use pecans instead of walnuts – if doing so, I’d delete the cardamom and add 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg instead. Also, add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the butter/sugar.

Alternatively, you could use any nuts you like – hazlenuts, almonds, etc. Alter the spicing to suit the nuts you use.

Garnish Option
If you don’t want a drizzle, you can simply dust the tops of the cooled biscuits with a little icing sugar.

GF Chocolate Shortbread
If you want chocolate (and nut-free) shortbread biscuits, try this other recipe of mine.

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