Any time I get to decorate bakes and cakes with flowers is a win for me. Rose petals are so pretty and the pop of color makes these cookies really stand out. These Persian love cookies are not only beautifully decorated, but they're also absolutely delicious. Made with lemon zest, cardamom, pistachios and rose water, these shortbread cookies are tender, buttery, and highly addictive. It's hard to eat just one. Dip them in white chocolate and sprinkle with dried rose petals and chopped pistachios and they are perfect for serving with a cup of tea.
What are Persian love cookies?
My Persian love cookies are an adaptation of the Persian love cake, a popular and traditional cake that originates from the middle east. The unique and distinctive flavors of this well known cake - cardamom, lemon, rose and pistachio - were used to make my Persian love cookies. The flavors in these cookies work so well and they complement each other. The Persian love cake is also sometimes flavored with saffron, orange, various spices like cinnamon or ginger, and almond.
How to make these cookies
Sugar and butter are beaten with lemon zest. Adding the lemon zest in this step allows the oils of the lemon zest to infuse the butter/sugar mixture with a stronger lemon flavor. Vanilla and rose water are beaten in next. Rose water has a very strong rose scent which also means it has a very strong rose flavor. A little goes a very long way with these cookies, so I used ¼ teaspoon. For a more prominent rose flavor, you can add up to ½ teaspoon without making the cookies taste like rose soap. The idea is to use these strong flavored ingredients - rose water, cardamom and lemon in a balanced way and still able to taste the buttery shortbread without making the flavors too overpowering.
Flour, salt, cardamom and pistachios are added to the butter/sugar mixture and beaten until just combined. Don't over mix as this will make the cookies tough. The dough needs to chill for 30 minutes to relax the gluten. This will make them easier to roll out. I chose to use a scalloped edge cookie cutter but you can use any cutter you like. A 2 ½" cookie cutter will make 22-24 cookies.
Chill the cookies after they are cut out to firm them up a bit before baking. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and allow them to cool before dipping them in white chocolate. Place some edible rose petals on the white chocolate and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Let the white chocolate set up before serving.
If you make my Persian love cookies, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your creations.
For more cookie recipes, check out these posts:
Pistachio Cherry Linzer Cookies
Brown Butter Maple Pecan Cookies
Persian Love Cookies
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (60g) confectioner's sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon rose water See notes above.
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cup (306g) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ cup (57g) chopped pistachios
- 1 cup (170g) white chocolate chips or wafers
- Chopped pistachios, for sprinkling
- Dried rose petals, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter, lemon zest, and confectioners sugar and beat together on medium speed until creamy and combined.
- Beat in the vanilla and rose water.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour, salt, cardamom and pistachios and beat just until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto some cling film. Press the dough together, forming a disc shape, about an inch in height. Wrap the dough with the cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Dust your work surface with flour. Roll out your cookie dough to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out the desired shapes and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between the cookies.
- Place the cooking sheets into the refrigerator to chill for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F while the cookies are chilling.
- Once the cookies are properly chilled, bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to turn a light golden brown.
- Let cool completely on the cookie sheets or on a cooling rack.
- Place the white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
- Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave until the chocolate has melted.
- Dip the cookies into the white chocolate.
- Before the chocolate is set, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and top with edible rose petals. Let the chocolate dry, then serve.
Can the cookies be made ahead, frozen, and then decorated at a later date? If so, how long can they stay in the freezer? Thank you!
Absolutely. You can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. The dough can also be cut out and frozen unbaked too.
Where do I find rose water?
Hi Sheila. Sometimes it can be found in grocery stores, but online is your best bet. This is the one I used.
Thank you Ashley.
They spread with almond flour 🙁
I would not recommend trying to use almond flour, at least, for a GF version.
Hi Darci. Almond flour amounts would need to be increased for the recipe to bake up properly, but I have never tried so I'm not sure on the amount. A few readers have had success with a gluten free blend that contains xanthan gum. Ash xx
Hi Ashley, I am a fan for persian love cake so I am familiar with this flavor. As a matter of fact, I love your persian love cookies better than the cake lol. Question for you. I use Callebaut white chocolate and do the double boiler method to melt them. My chocolate dip looks bulkier than yours. I heard you can add some veg oil to thin it out. Do you recommend? Other than that, I doubled the sugar to 120 gr since 60 gr was just not sweet enough. Thank you so much!
Hi Christina! You can use 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening to help thin and smooth out the chocolate. I've never used oil, but I think it *should* work. I would just be sure to heat the chocolate and oil together. So happy you love the cookies! - Ash -
Have made this recipe twice - first time...just held together and pretty crumbly - flavour amazing. Chocolate a little thick for dipping but may try thinning this time with a little butter. When I got the latest batch of dough out of the fridge realised that it was never going to hold together so broke it up consistently by chopping with a knife let it come to room temp and added a little very cold water - just over a teaspoon - and mixed till could make a dough. It has rolled beautifully and am hoping it will have a good texture when baked!
Can I use gluten-free flour instead of regular flour?
I found these on The Spice House website and they taste and look spectacular! These just might become my new favorite shortbread cookie. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Hi Meg!So happy you loved them!