Cardamom Rosewater Rice Cookies

I love the smell of rosewater and cardamom. These cookies do not last very long in our home. My son gives it “5 thumbs up.” The best part (for me) is that they are vegan and gluten-free. I tested negative for Celiac disease, but when I cut gluten from my diet, I feel significantly better. It has been a real struggle to eat gluten-free, however. Thank goodness for Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. It has worked very well for me as a gluten-free replacer in recipes calling for regular flour. This is not an ad. Just my experience. 🙂

Traditional Persian Rice Cookies, “Noon-e-Berenji”, often have eggs and dairy. I first discovered this recipe in 2013 when I was taking a Persian dessert to work for Naw Ruz (Persian New Year). The original recipe is from My Darling Lemon Thyme, and I just made a couple changes to simplify the recipe and enhance the Persian flavor.

I do want to emphasize that caster sugar is an important ingredient for this recipe. I have tried making these cookies with granulated sugar and powdered sugar, but the cookies never turned out as smooth and light as when I used caster sugar. Note, some sugars are not considered vegan as they are filtered through bone char. Hence, animal parts were used in making the product. If the sugar is labeled “organic,” then it is a vegan option. If you need to make your own vegan caster sugar, try blending organic granulated sugar until is super fine but not powdery.

Rosewater can be found at Persian, Afghan, Indian, and other specialty stores. I have even found it at Whole Foods.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 tsp. rosewater
  • 2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 1/2 cups of white rice flour
    • The original recipe used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, which is also fine. There is not much difference in the flavor, but I find the white rice flour actually makes a softer texture.
  • 1/3 cup of chopped unsalted, raw pistachios
  • 1-2 Tbsp. of crushed unsalted, raw pistachios for topping (I use a mortar and pestle to crush the pistachios)

Directions

  1. Leave vegan butter out for 30 minutes to soften.
  2. Heat oven to 325 F.
  3. Cream the vegan butter and caster sugar in a large bowl until blended and fluffy (I use a handheld mixer).
  4. Add the rosewater and cardamom and mix to incorporate.
  5. Add the flour and mix. I use my hands at this stage to blend all the ingredients.
  6. Add the chopped pistachios and mix until blended.
  7. Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Slightly flatten each ball with a fork and sprinkle the tops with the crushed pistachio.
  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Note: these cookies stay white and do not brown or golden.
  10. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 20 cookies