Orange Cardamom Shortbread & Blue

Christmas is only one week away. This season has flown this time around. It has always been and will always be my favorite time of year. The whole world seems to celebrate. Large Christmas trees adorn street corners or the insides of Seattle’s skyscrapers, Christmas music is a distinct addition to whole month of December (maybe even earlier in many retail shops) and I do feel that people are more generous, more empathetic, more caring. I chose Joni Mitchell’s Blue for my holiday cookie post because although I am still enjoying decorating, love having my first real Christmas tree in years in my house and still feel the highlights of the season, everything seems sort of muted this year. The album Blue also has the one song of Joni Mitchell’s that some how became a holiday song, “River.” Granted, it starts with Jingle Bells in the first few bars but it is a melancholy holiday song and almost entirely about loss around the holiday season. Were you aware of that? River is extremely fitting for me this Christmas time and it also seems to say, its okay to feel blue. Just because it is my favorite time of year, it doesn’t mean I need to put on my Santa hat and a happy face this year.

I don’t know about you but the days since election day haven’t gotten any easier and our potential president’s daily actions, thoughts and tweets are still as preposterous as when he first announced he was running. While it wouldn’t have changed how I felt about him, I wish he had accepted the heavy weight of the office our country apparently decided he was worthy of and became someone who at least pretended to take the job seriously. I plan to stay informed, awake and alert but am trying to figure out how to balance this with getting so frustrated and angry that my day is permanently scarred. I feel betrayed by everyone who voted for this man. How could you sentence our country to four years of belligerent tweets and lies from our highest office (at the bare minimum)? There aren’t enough Christmas lights, cookies or eggnog in the world to color this season bright enough to cancel out the melancholy blanketing my world and the world of many closest to me. So if you too are feeling down or not as enthusiastic this holiday season as others, know that you aren’t alone and while making these Orange Cardamom Shortbread cookies and listening to Blue won’t be a fix, it will be a salve. At least for awhile.


Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread (Gluten and Egg free) 

Makes 24-36 cookies (depending on how thick you cut them).

  • 2-1/2 cups chickpea flour (Bobs Red Mill works well)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1. Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the orange zest.
3. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar and combine until a dough forms.
4. Lay a long sheet of plastic wrap out and place the dough in the center. Shape into a log 1.5-2 inches in diameter. Place into the freezer for at least one hour.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice the log into 1/2 inch slices. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place the cookies with 1/2 space between them. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let cookies rest on the sheet for about 5 minutes.
5. Dip/roll each cookie in the powder sugar to coat. Let cool completely, enjoy!
Why did I make a gluten free cookie? Working with so many other dietitians, many have food allergies or intolerances and the most common seems to be gluten. I wanted a recipe that didn’t use lots of flours or xanthan gum as I don’t have those laying around my house. The chickpea flour also has more protein than typical wheat flour, not that this makes these healthy 🙂
The resting after baking is crucial so these cookies don’t break. Without the gluten, they don’t hold together as well.

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