The distinctly perfumed and intensely coloured slender strands of saffron infused some magic into my rava laddus, kheer and then proceeded to do the same to these cookies which were also a part of my Janmashtami offerings to Lord Krishna this year.
With hints of cardamom and nutmeg, the delightful and subtle fragrance of saffron really comes through in these cookies. The use of ghee instead of butter and these spices put together make these cookies or biscuits essentially Indian in nature.
The pistachios not only add crunch and colour but also make these look so beautiful! The mezzaluna is a wonderful tool to have to crush the pistachios. Its also great to chop herbs!
Speaking of the mezzaluna, I must tell you a short story. When Rohit was in Switzerland, some 4 or 5 years ago, I asked him to get me a mezzaluna and showed him some pictures of how it looked like!. He approached a store assistant in Zurich who could speak and understand a little English and asked her for a “mezzaluna”. She promptly nodded her head, disappeared for a few minutes and came back with the largest chef’s knife he had ever seen! After everything from a rolling pin to a skewer made their appearance in front of my husband and after a lot of nerve racking explaining (no wonder he’s so good at dumb charades!) and just as he was about to give up, my mezzaluna made its appearance! God bless that store assistant! From then on, I have in my arsenal 3 to 4 mezzalunas but the one from Zurich, Switzerland remains my favourite!
Coming back to these cookies, I packed boxes of cake, cookies and laddus to give to friends and family this Janmashtami and these cookies were a part of these gifts.
These cookies were not just great to make but also won rave reviews from many who tasted it. Make them and store them in an air tight container to munch away when you feel like or to serve to special guests or to pack them into little gifts to give away! With all the exotic spices and the crunchiness and the melt in the mouth texture, these are sure to win many hearts!
Eggless Saffron Cookies Laced With Pistachios Recipe
Try replacing the plain flour with whole wheat flour if you are making it for toddlers or if you would like to do so! The only difference would be that the saffron flavour would not be as distinct!
1/4 tsp saffron
2 tsp milk, warmed to dissolve the saffron
6 cardamom pods
20 pistachios, crushed or coarsely chopped
200 gm (1 1/2 cups) flour
100 gm (1/2 cup + 2tbsp) castor sugar
100 gm (1/2 cup) ghee
A few drops of milk to bind the dough if required
Place the saffron with the warm milk in a mortar pestle.
In a mortar and pestle or coffee mill, grind the cardamom seeds and nutmeg to a fine powder and keep aside.
Chop the pistachios into small pieces. A mezzaluna is great for this purpose!
Crush the saffron into a smooth paste using the mortar and pestle.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the ghee and the sugar together. Put in the saffron mixture, cardamom and nutmeg powder and blend well.
Put in the flour and form into a dough. If the flour refuses to co operate, add a few more drops of milk, just enough for the dough to come together and form into a dough.
Preheat your oven to 350 F
Divide the dough into two halves and on a clean surface roll half of the dough into 6” circle. Sprinkle half of the pistachios over it and lightly roll with a rolling pin.
Using a cookie cutter of your choice cut into cookies. Assemble the remaining dough, roll again and cut. Repeat until you have no dough remaining.
Repeat the above step for the remaining half of the dough.
Place the cookies on a tray lined with butter paper and bake for 15 minutes.
Cool completely and store in an air tight container.
Makes 40 cookies