Saturday, 15 September 2012

Awb e Dundawn (Heavenly Afghan Pistachio Biscuits!)

I don't make a lot of biscuits, not really sure why. But making these amazing biscuits makes me want to make them all the time! They are Afghan Pistachio Biscuits, their texture is soft and crumby like shortbread and they're flavoured with the traditional Afghan holy trinity - rosewater, cardamom and pistachios (the basis for all Afghan desserts as far as I can tell!).

Every month I take a country recommended by a reader and feature as many good recipes inspired by that country that I can in a month. Want to see some of the other ones I've had?

January 2012 - Croatia Month
February 2012 - Chad Month
March 2012 - Bosnia Month
April 2012 - Iran Month
May 2012 - Scotland Month
June 2012 - Cambodia Month
August 2012 - Sweden Month
September 2012 - Afghanistan Month

This recipe is also part of the Eating the Alphabet Blog Hop, which this month is using the letters P, Q & R. Lots and lots of choices from those letters. My contribution is Pistachio based, one of my absolute favourite nuts to make sweets out of. This recipe, like a few others featured this month, was adapted from It's a great resource for ideas, however some of the recipes haven't turned out like the photo and description would indicate. This one wasn't an exception. It said to cook the biscuits at 200 degrees C for 10-12 minutes! I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried it. At 200 they overcooked in about 6 minutes. So I changed the temperature and the time and they turned out much better.

Awb e Dundawn
Adapted from Afghancooking

3 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup soft icing mixture
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup Nuttelex (or other non dairy butter or margarine)
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 tbsp rosewater, plus 1 tsp
2 tbsp pistachios
Whole pistachios, to garnish

To Make
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix the flour, icing mixture, baking powder and cardamom together in a bowl.
3. Add the Nuttelex and rub into the dry ingredients with your hands until the mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
4. Add the oil and rosewater and knead into a ball.
5. Knead with your hands for a few minutes. The mixture will be slightly crumbly, but should stick together into a ball when pressed.
6. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll out pieces of the dough about the size and shape of a ping pong ball or a whole walnut. Place them on the baking tray a few centimetres apart.
7. Use your index finger to gently make an imprint on each biscuit, the edges will crack a bit as you do this, but that's ok.
8. Bake for about 8 minutes. The bottoms will be slightly browned but the tops should be still pale. They'll be slightly soft as you take them out of the oven, but will firm up as they cool.
9. While they cool make the pistachio filling. Place the pistachios and the extra 1 tsp rosewater in a food processor. Process until a coarse paste is formed.
10. Place about 1/2 tsp of pistachio paste in the imprint of each biscuit. Decorate with a whole pistachio if you wish.

Makes about 20 biscuits.


  1. What a great way to combine these two themes, the Afghan theme and the alphabet theme. Great job; they look delicious!

  2. Oh, what beautiful biscuits! Cardamom, pistachio, and rosewater sound like a great flavor combination.

  3. Hello! I know I'm really late to the party but I'm starting my own 'cooking around the world' challenge and am beginning this weekend with Afghanistan. I'm dead set on making these because they look amazing but I'm in the US and we don't have anything called soft icing mixture. I looked up the Australian brand and it says it's just cane sugar and tapioca so I figured I could make my own but have no idea what the ratio is - do you have any suggestions for an alternative?? :)

    1. Hi Ashley, just use icing sugar :)

    2. Pardon my ignorance but I am thinking you mean powdered sugar, also called Confectioners.....but just checking that you don't mean Superfine......I have had these biscuts an am so happy to find the recipe!!!! I am very keen to make them!!!

    3. Yes, that is correct - also known as confectioners sugar.