Cardamom Vanilla Bean Shortbread

To remove seeds from cardamom pods, pretend that you're cracking a pistachio out of the shell, using your thumbnail to pierce the pod and then prying it open using your thumbs and forefingers. This recipe is inspired by this one from King Arthur Flour.
Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Marissa Stevens


  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar divided
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature (227 g)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (113 g)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour (241 g)


  • Remove seeds from cardamom pods and place in small bowl. Discard pods.
  • In a blender, combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the cardamom seeds. Blend for about 1 minute, until cardamom seeds are distributed throughout. Return mixture to small bowl and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Reserve.
  • Add butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • With a small paring knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use the dull side of the knife to scrape out seeds. Add seeds to butter mixture in mixing bowl, separating any large clumps.
  • Beat mixture until smooth. Add flour and beat until the dough comes together.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • When you're ready to bake:
  • Preheat oven to 300 °F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and transfer to lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle evenly with half of the cardamom / sugar mixture.
  • Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and use a 3 by 1-inch cookie cutter or pizza wheel (for rustic rectangles). Sprinkle with remaining cardamom / sugar mixture.
  • Transfer cookies to prepared baking dish and prick all over with a fork. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.
  • Transfer shortbread to a wire rack to cool.