Lemon and cardamom flavored Christmas cookies

It’s winter, you hear christmas jingles everywhere, the homes are lit up and my mind flows through the wonderful aroma of baked goods around the kitchens 🙂  And these cookies makes me feel festive.This is my take on the christmas fruit cake but with my favorite flavors. These cookies have the colors from the nuts and fruits and they are packed with flavors of different fruits and nuts and the light hints of lemon and cardamom are so refreshing.

I love shortbreads. They are so versatile, you can make wonders by adding a variety of flavors to them. The ratios of ingredients are similar to the Indian nankhatai the textures are very different and that is due to temperature of butter and the way you mix it with other ingredients. That is the magic of baking science. Nankhatai has a little more crispy crunchy texture, shortbread is a crispy cookie but a little softer core that is sort of like a cake. Again that also depends on how long you bake it and how long you freeze the dough etc.

You can keep the shortbread dough ready in the freeze for later use. The longer it stays in the fridge affects the color and the texture. It is nicely explained in this articles.

Generally, the formula for shortbread cookies is 1-2-3 of sugar-butter-flour. Add more to this recipe to compensate for the sour ingredients. Some add cornstarch to this recipe to give the cookie more crumbly texture and more shortbread type taste. It also acts as a binder. To add cornstarch, replace the 2 tbsp of flour with cornstarch.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar  (I used 1/3 cup as I don’t like  lot of sugar)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick of butter – has marking of cup measurement on it)  – at room temp, softened.

1 cup and 2 tbsp All purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp of lemon zest

1/4 tsp cardamom powder – you can add more for pronounced test. this is quite light.

Dried fruits and nuts – cranberries, pistachio, almonds, pecans, dried fruits (crush the nuts and chop the fruits somewhat)

Directions

In a bowl beat together the butter, sugar and salt until it is light and fluffy.

Add cardamom powder, lemon zest. Mix well.

Add flour and dried fruits and nuts and mix into a soft dough.

Put it on a plastic wrap, wrap it and them shape into a round log or square, triangle any shape you like. Pack the wrap on both sides and fridge at least for an hour or 2.

Set the oven to 320 degree F.

Take the log out of fridge. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Its a bit tricky to cut through the nuts and fruits. You need patience 🙂

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Put it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave around an inch of space between them as they do expand.

Bake on the middle rack for 12-15 mins or until the edges turn slightly brown. The cookie will be a little soft at the middle and will set as it cools down. Check on from 12 mins onwards.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

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