Monday, January 3, 2011

Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies

Did you all have a good New Year's celebration? Made your resolutions? As for this blog, read on.

When I wish family and friends "A Very Happy Prosperous New Year" it seems a bit contradictory sometimes. I am sure you are wondering if I have come down with something. Bear with me as I explain myself.

Prosperity is a loaded term. But what exactly does prosperous mean? Does having a lot money mean prosperity or is it something else altogether? Let's just take the literal meaning good fortune. To prosper you have to work hard, very hard actually unless you were Paris Hilton and bequeathed with a lot of fortune.

Yes, US is supposedly a prosperous country. I am not really sure if that is a true statement anymore with all the borrowing and debt. Though it is certain that this prosperity has come at a huge cost. I personally feel this and I bet so are many others who are taking on more and more load hoping for that promotion or the big bonus.

Americans work some of the longest hours in the Western World while enjoying some of the fewest vacation days. Modern gadgets have tethered the American worker to his job even more. Add to this the hours spent on the road , the work day easily stretches to 10 hours or more.

Does earning more translate to more happiness. Apparently not. Research says that happiness peaks at $75,000 annual income. More apparently does not necessarily mean more happiness. If all the sacrifices made to achieve more is added into the mix I am not sure where the happiness index will stand.

What is lost in all this rush to make more and buy more is quality of life. We spend fewer hours doing things that really does bring happiness.

This year I am hoping to explore those issues that directly or indirectly affect quality of life, perhaps using the goings on in my life.

It is perhaps time for the government to step in and do something but that is never going to happen not in this country. Working long hours will somehow be linked to freedom and god given right and democracy. Read this article though - Less Work, More Life.

I had promised to make cookies for the kids over the holidays and had bookmarked a recipe in the Washington Post. I have not achieved 100% success with baking in all these years. This recipe is no different. I also know with butter, sugar and flour there is not much that can go wrong with the taste. While baking cookies especially shaping each one to be the same size matters a lot and also using the correct baking sheet and rack position in the oven also matters.

Don't go by the looks, these cookies are very tasty and very addictive, so for the bakers out there, this recipe might do wonders in your hands so give it a go.

The original recipe is vegan. I substituted the butter substitute with butter and almond milk with regular milk.

Recipe Source: Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies

Pistachio and Cardamom Cookies
1. 2 2/3 Cups Unbleached all purpose Flour
2. 1/2 cup raw sugar (run through a blender once, I did not do it) + 1/4 cup honey
3. 2 tsp crushed roasted unsalted pistachio
4. 1/4 cup milk
5. 2 cups butter
6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
7. 1 tsp lemon zest
8. 2 tsp powdered cardamom

1. Beat the sugar with the butter for 3-4 minutes till nice and smooth (DD2 beat for at least twice that amount of time) Add the vanilla and beat for a minute more
2. Stir in the lemon zest, milk and pistachios and gently mix it in to the butter mixture
3. Sift the flour, add the cardamom and slowly add it to the butter mixture, gently mixing it in with a spatula to form a soft dough
4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I chilled it for 4 hours
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a tbsp of dough an inch apart, makes approximately 40 and gently flatten the dough with hand.
7. Place the cookie sheet in the top most rack and bake for 13-15 minutes in batches
8. Leave it in cookie sheet for another 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool

Buttery and soft, these cookies were tasty and delicious.


  1. Your cookies sound and look so tasty ISG! I baked cookies for the first time in years, this Christmas. Glad to see I wasn't the only one ;)

    And I'm with you 100% on the price we pay for monetary prosperity. Hard to get by without money in the world today -- but surely there must be a way to balance the work necessary to pay the rent, college loans etc, with some time to sit back and smell the roses -- or the cookies as the case may be :)

  2. Happy new year to you. Pistacjios and cardomom combination can bever go wrong.I have a can of pista, will give this recipe a try

  3. Loved reading about prosperity, it is a relative term of course but I think when you wish somebody, it means to succeed. Anyway I am going to think twice when I mention prosperous anymore.
    Cookies look very very tempting, I am not good either at baking because only my daughter loves the baked goodies.

  4. But the cookies do look good Indo. Never gave a thought to the rack position ... must try baking in the topmost rack once.

  5. Sometimes I don't know if we can ever work fewer hours or at least finish earlier, going forward. And it's not as if I work a corporate job or work in the US, where long hours are routine.

    Earning more - after a point, it's all relative, I think. Happiness may not be it but security, yes, but you could be insecure with nothing in the bank and still be insecure with millions ... :)

    On another note, you must have read those studies which say spend money on experiences (travel, etc) rather than objects and that will make you happy - I think it makes a lot of sense.

  6. Cookies look crisp and cute! Very true, different parameters decide the definition of prosperity to each individual. Wealth, knowledge, assets and friends being a few of them. Nice read.

  7. Damn cute and pretty cookies..Happy 2011 to u and ur family..

  8. I love you. I love your philosophy.
    I think it is a personal choice, sense of security, peer pressure, buying power etc. for many. Maybe that is what they think is Happiness.
    And it is not about the US anymore. I see people in India working like crazy for the same goal of buying bigger and better.

    With a market economy it is hard to convince people that more money --> more buying power != Happiness.

    I love Bhutan's philosophy of GNH(

    I would love to see how you explore the issues and maybe I will adapt them in my life, 'coz I am a sucker for doing things that do not have monetary benefits.

    The cookies look lovely Indo. the DDs must have enjoyed them

  9. luv the flavour of cookies,..

  10. Indo,
    Pistachio vegan cookies looks delicious..happiness and prosperity is well have diffrent parameters for everybody..loved reading it ..hugs and smiles

  11. Am eager to see your next posts as you are going to talk about my favourite topic, Development Economics. reminded me of my studies on Amrtya sen's Capability approach and so many other great reads in coll.
    cookies look great Indo and wish you and your family a very happy new year.

  12. Your Indgredients list does not contain the item "Cardamom"

  13. the cookies sounds delicious Indo! Have a fabulous 2011.

  14. These look like thos beautiful nan khatais we used to have! Lovely

    Happy New Year to you Indo! :) and did you know Indians love to work long hours as well? I have recently discovered this - behind the layer of babus who shirk work, there is the "private sector"which thinks putting in long hours is de rigeur!

  15. wishing u a good year ahead. usually everybody is into substituting butter and milk with vegan stuff and u did a reverse?:))i am trying to stay away from cookie recipes now, but feel so tempted to make it!!

  16. I think they look divine! So true what you say about happiness. If only we could find the time for the simplest things that put a smile on our face... happy 2011!

  17. pista and cardamom - wow! that sudsn like a great combo. I'll give it a try.

    Thanks for the warm wishes, Indo!! Happy new year to you too!!

  18. Happy New year ISG..Thats all I gotta say..and gotta run..


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