Before the introduction of vanilla extract in the 17th century, rose water was a cook’s must-add baking ingredient. For the last few centuries this rosy ingredient has fallen out of favour but thankfully, due to the increased popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine, rose water has been thrust back into the limelight. I have a weakness for it when it’s combined with ground cardamom and it’s equally delicious with lemon, chocolate, almond, orange and even saffron. These delicate shortbread biscuits are a perfect teatime treat or gift. They store well, so they can be easily made ahead of time.
I like to decorate them with rose water icing, intensifying the rosy flavour but they’re also delicious when simply dusted with a little icing sugar. – Lindsay
- 100g Unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 55g Caster sugar
- 170g Plain flour
- 1 Tbsp Ground almonds
- 1 Tbsp Rose water
- 6 Cardamom pods
- 200g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Rose water
- Juice of half a lemon
- Chopped pistachios
- Dried rose petals
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
- Using a pestle and mortar, work the cardamom pods to get the seeds out. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- If you have a food processor, pulse all the ingredients together until they form a soft dough.
- If you don’t have a food processor, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Add the rose water, cardamom and work in the flour a little at a time, with as little beating as possible. Pat the paste into a smooth ball.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1cm.
- Using a cookie cutter, place the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. The biscuits must be about 2cm apart. The dough should yield approximately 25 small biscuits.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden.
- Allow to cool completely before decorating.
- To make the icing, combine all the ingredients together to form a thick paste. The mixture needs to be quite thick to avoid it dripping down the sides, so add more icing sugar, if necessary, to thicken it up.
- Spread a teaspoon of icing onto each biscuit and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and dried rose petals.
- Store in an airtight contained for up to four days.