On Being Popular: Pistachio Almond Cardamom Cookies

If you’re anything like me, you’ll immediately hear Kristen Chenoweth’s voice in your head whenever you read the word “popular”. No? I guess it’s really just me then.

Anyway, this post isn’t about Broadway musicals (unfortunately), it’s about winning friends and influencing people. Specifically, women. You know how the old line “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, I call foul on that. It might be true, sure, but in my experience, food is a far greater tool when trying to win over girls. Just think about the last time someone brought cupcakes to your office or classroom- it was the women crowding around the lunch table and cooing, yes?

Earlier this month, I started my second term of studies in Interior Design. Last year, I had a fun, small group of classmates who I got to know well, but most of them were either in different classes or postponing their studies this year. So I was faced with the prospect of a new, much larger group and a new tutor, and though I might seem chatty here on my blog, I can be shy in real life. I needed to break the ice and form good relationships with these people, otherwise, the next six months could be quite awkward.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon: cookies. I’m fairly certain that there’s no better way to turn shy smiles and awkward silences into gushes of “Ooh, can I have the recipe?” and “Wow, you have a food blog? Send me the address!”. It’s also great for me because I can indulge my baking hobby without worrying about indulging my waistline too much.

Fittingly, this recipe comes from the lovely blog Positively Beauty, where blogger Cristina Colli writes about interior design and baking- pretty perfect for someone like me, no? It’s funny how certain interests just seem to “go” together. Much like certain flavours; the marriage of almond, pistachio and cardamom here is perfection, as is the chewy, lozenge-like texture. I can almost liken these to a French pistachio macaron, only far easier to make.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding, so how did my classmates like these? There was only one left at the end of the day, so you be the judge. Or better yet, make these for your work/school mates and let them judge. I’ll warn you though: you might find yourself with more friends than you know what to do with.

Pistachio Almond Cardamom Cookies

adapted from Positively Beauty

makes 32 cookies

  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 200g blanched almonds
  • 200g icing sugar, plus extra to coat
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (from about 1 tsp. cardamom seeds)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbs. honey

  1.  Grind the pistachios and almonds together with the icing sugar in a food processor- if you don’t have a food processor, using a clean coffee or spice grinder (in small batches, obviously) works well. Including the icing sugar in this process keeps the nuts from becoming too oily and lumpy. If you’re using cardamom seeds also grind them in this step, otherwise whisk in the cardamom and salt after, in a bowl.
  2.  In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the honey, and continue beating until smooth and glossy. Little by little, add the dry ingredients and mix together on low speed, or with a spatula. When mixed, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for at least one hour, or up to three. (This step is essential for the dough to firm up; it will look impossibly sticky before resting.)
  3.  When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F and line two baking sheets with parchment. Put some icing sugar (about 1/2 cup) in a small bowl. Break off walnut-sized chunks of dough and roll into a ball with your hands; coat each in the icing sugar before placing on the baking sheets, 1″ apart. When a tray is full, gently flatten the top of each cookie with the palm of your hand.
  4.  Bake cookies for 20-22 minutes. They will still feel slightly soft to the touch but will firm up on cooling. Allow cooling completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
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