Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recipe: Almond Cardamom Cookie Bites (Hajee Badoom)

Today is the 1 year anniversary of my grandmother's death.   Once a year, she would bake a batch of these, my favourite cookies for me.  They are a Persian cookie called Hajee Badoom, made with ground almonds, and they are usually prepared for the Persian New Year (first day of spring).  She always promised to teach me how to make them, but we never made the time..... Then she died, and I couldn't find the recipe, anywhere.... not on the Internet, not with my went with her.  But for the entire year, I kept asking, and luckily a dear friend of my Grandmother's knew how to make them, and shared her recipe with me.  Although they are delicious, I seem to remember my grandma's cookies being a bit lighter in texture - but maybe that's just because SHE made them.  They are crunchy (almost biscotti like) with the beautiful scent and delicate flavour of cardamom.  They are relatively healthy, as far as cookies go and they are gluten free (this is a terrific recipe for those with a gluten intolerance!).  I have yet to find anyone who doesn't like them.  My little man devours them by the dozen! 

For me, these cookies will always remind me of my grandmother's unconditional love.  It felt right to make them today - on the anniversary of her death. While I miss her beyond words, I felt close to her, and I could almost hear her praising my ingenuity and perseverance at finding the recipe..... praising me as only a grandmother can do.  I hope you enjoy them.

Almond Cardamom Cookie Bites (Hajee Badoom)
  • 150g of icing sugar
  • 200g of almond flour (which is essentially just ground blanched almonds)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • just a trace of egg white (1/4 of the white you would find in 1 egg)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom (be sure to use fresh ground cardamom, or grind the pods yourself!)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

  1.  Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of your mixer and add the egg yolks and egg white.   Mix thoroughly until the mixture is light and fluffy (this takes about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the baking powder and the cardamom and mix briefly to combine.
  3. By hand, gently stir in the almond flour (may also be referred to as ground almonds) until everything is just incorporated.  Put the mixture onto a piece of saran wrap and bring it all together into a log or a disk - wrap it carefully and put it in the fridge for an hour or so. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge.  Cut about a quarter of it off and roll it into a log (about 1/2 inch thick).  Cut into little bite size pieces, roll into a ball, and place 1 cm apart on a parchment lined baking sheet (they don't spread very much).  Be sure to keep the rest of the dough wrapped as you work, so that it doesn't dry out.  Continue with the rest of the dough until you have all the little balls done. 
  6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.  DO NOT open the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking.  After 20 minutes open the door and check to see if they are done.  When they are done, they will be firm to the touch and slightly golden brown.  Keep setting your timer for 3 minutes, and check again, until they are done.  I find my cookies can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes, depending on how big I made my little balls.
  7. Take off the tray and place on a cooling rack to cool completely (they will still be a little chewy until you cool them completely).  Enjoy!
I hope you try this recipe - or if you have a variation of this recipe, please share it with me! 

I like to roll the dough into logs and then cut and roll out the little balls - but my grandmother's friend just takes the dough by the teaspoonful out of a bowl and rolls them into balls.  I like my cookies really small, you can try experiment with other sizes (just remember to adjust the baking time accordingly).

Try to make your little dough balls the same size so they bake evenly.

Crunchy airy texture inside.


  1. This recipe reminds me of one of my mom's cookie recipes. It's called Ghourabia and it's basically shortbread with almonds. I think my mom got this recipe from an Greek girlfriend of hers many years ago. She makes it for all types of celebrations and get togethers since we all expect it. My kids LOVE it. But beware, it's not even close to being healthy. I have never tried it myself. My mom gave me the recipe a while ago and have always meant to try it. One day I will.

    1/2 package of Crisco
    1 lb sweet butter at room temperature
    4 egg yolks or 2 egg yolk and 1 white
    1 tsp baking soda mixed with half a lemon
    1 cup icing sugar
    1 cup chopped almonds
    1 tsp vanilla
    2-3 tbsps ouzo
    Flour - as much as needed

    Mix butter with sugar in the mixer.
    Add egg yolks and icing sugar, then the baking soda with lemon juice and ouzo.
    Gradually add flour. When it is not possible to continue in the mixer, then transfer the whole thing in a big bowl where you can work with your hands. Add the chopped almonds and more flour, if necessary.
    Make small cookies - my mom makes s-shaped cookies or round ones with one clove at the top. Bake them for 20-25 minutes in 350F oven.

    Let me know if you try it!

  2. Your almond cookies sound and look absolutely delicious! Great recipe!
    Best wishes,