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Thandai Shortbread Cookies

Thandai Shortbread Cookies

This recipe was curated for the Cultured Cup by Mia McCallum

Our second partnership with long-time customer and avid baker, Mia McCallum was at this Saturday's tasting. Mia and co-owner Kyle came up with the idea to celebrate tea cultures with a pairing of great loose-leaf tea and pastries inspired by the country's cuisine. Mia came up with recipes that represented India. These cookies are an homage to the Thandai, a popular spice drink in northern India for celebrations! Customers loved these paired with Darjeeling Margaret's Hope. If you prefer something a bit more bold, try them with Assam Margherita Estate or Raj Masala Chai

Thandai is a wonderful blend of spices and nuts. I enjoy how the nuts add a
depth of flavor not usually found in the more familiar “chai” spices.
Customize your cookies by adjusting the spices and nuts to your palate.
These cookies look lovely and make a sophisticated addition to any
afternoon tea or Christmas cookie exchange.


Yields: 4 dozen
Preparation: 30 minutes
Bake time: 12 - 15 minutes

For the thandai powder:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

For the cookies:

  • 1 ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup + 2 tbs thandai powder
  • ½ tsp salt


  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp rose water
  • Ground pistachios


    Prepare the thandai powder:

    1. In a small bowl mix spices together. In batches, add mixture to coffee/spice grinder until finally ground.
    2. Once all the ingredients are ground, toss powder to ensure even distribution.
    Prepare the cookies:
    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, thandai powder, and salt. Set
    2. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter, and sugar until cream, 3-4
    3. Beat in vanilla and rosewater.
    4. Gradually add the flour/thandai mixture. Beat until just combined. (Don’t over-mix.)
    5. Roll into two logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator for 2-3
      hours or up to 2 days. The longer you let it sit, the more the dough’s flavor
    When ready to bake:
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Slice cookies from the log in ¼” thickness.
    3. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until firm and with a bit of light brown on the edges.
    4. Let rest on pans for 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Cookies are ready to frost once they are at room temperature.
    To frost:
    1. Mix ingredients until smooth.
    2. Lightly ice a portion of the top of the shortbread cookie and immediately sprinkle ground pistachios onto icing. This icing hardens, so the cookies are easy to store.
    3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to



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