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shortbread cookies
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4.34 from 9 votes

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies (Shakar Lama)

Melt in your mouth sugar cookies, with the delicious addition of cardamom.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Servings: 20 cookies
Calories: 150kcal


  • 20 almonds
  • ¾ cups of butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1-½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • ½ tsp. salt


  • Pour boiling water over almonds and soak while you work on the dough.
  • Cut butter into 1" pieces, add to a stand mixer, along with the sugar. Mix until thoroughly blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Add the flour, cardamom, and salt into the sugar and butter mixture. Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Place cookie dough on a piece of Saran wrap. Cover the dough with the plastic wrap and roll into a log. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375-degrees F.
  • Using a pastry scraper, slice the chilled roll in half, then in quarters. Slice each quarter into five equal discs. Place discs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Remove the skin off of the almonds, then pat them dry with the paper towels. Press one almond into the center of each cookie.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.


  • In my cookbook, Mom's Authentic Assyrian Recipes, I recommend rolling the dough into a rope, and bringing the ends together, then adding an almond in the center. You can still choose to make them that way if you wish. However, since I published my book in 2008, I've come up with a better way.
  • The method I prefer now is forming the dough into a log. I then chill and slice the dough into discs. This method is not only easier but makes for a prettier and more uniform cookie!
  • Still another way of forming these cookies is to shape them into triangles. I suppose it’s a matter of preference. But personally, I prefer making them round.
  • Another variation that you might come across is adding ground almonds into the dough, giving the cookies an extra crunchy texture. If you decide to add ground almonds to the dough, you can skip the almond in the center.


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 61mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g