Afghan Butter Cookies (Kulche Birinjee) (Tested)

Serves     3 dozen


These delicious butter cookies call for the addition of pistachios and cardamom, making them uniquely Afghan. The original recipe called for using rice flour and egg whites. After following the recipe faithfully though, I found that I didn’t care for the texture of the cookies. And I never like to waste egg yolks if it’s not necessary.

So, I’ve adapted this recipe by using all-purpose flour, thereby saving you a trip to the store for specialty flour. And I’ve substituted one whole egg for two egg whites, no waste! 


¾ cup butter (1½ sticks), slightly softened 

¾ cup sugar  

1 egg 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

½ tsp. ground cardamom 

¼ cup coarsely chopped pistachios 

pinch of salt 

36 additional whole pistachios for garnish 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to mix until just incorporated. Gradually add the flour, cardamom, chopped pistachios, and salt. 

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes if it is too soft to work with, otherwise continue.  

Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten lightly with your fingers. Make cross hatch marks on top of the cookie with a fork, as you would for a peanut butter cookie. Press a whole pistachio into the top of the cookie. 

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. The cookie will still be pale, but should look set. 


Notes and Instructions

Recipe submitted by Linda McElroy, adapted from 

Photo credit: Afghan Culture Unveiled, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.