Saffron Barberry Cookies

I know you and I had talked about Iranians' passion for saffron before. I had told you that we bake with saffron, cook with saffron, drink saffron tea, make sugar candies with saffron, least to say we're obsessed with saffron. A spice that is exotic, fragrant and so expensive that some call it red gold, but as Maryam Sinaiee wrote on her blog "how to use saffron, the king of spices";  a little of saffron can go a long way, if you know how to use it.

In today's recipe, I've used saffron as the main flavor and complemented it with the tart flavor of barberries. Barberries are commonly used in Iran to add a distinct tart flavor to rice dishes.  The delicious tart flavor of barberries mixed with the rich flavor of saffron & sweet aroma of cardamom makes these cookies irresistible.

Saffron barberry cookies are fragrant, colorful, and delicious. The blend of saffron and cardamom is magical. You will feel like there is a wedding of colors and flavors happening in your mouth. You can't stop eating just one or two ....and why should you? After all, you deserve a little treat ;)

You can never go wrong when you bake with saffron ....

You can never go wrong when you bake with saffron ....


These cookies are not overly sweet, if you like them sweeter, you can increase the powdered sugar to 100g.

The dough is very buttery and greasy, avoid handling it too much, if your kitchen temperature is warm and the dough is getting too greasy to handle, place the dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes then use.

If you like the traditional look of Iranian cookies, you can roll out the dough to less than an inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies.

If you don't have barberries or just don't like to use them, simply avoid them, the cookies are still going to be delicious!

Saffron Barberry Cookies

Yield: 35-45 cookies| Bake time: 12 minutes


  • 200g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60g powdered sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30g yogurt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon brewed saffron
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 30g barberries, cleaned, washed & dried
  • 10g slivered pistachio for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 170°C , cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Sift flour, baking powder together and set aside, we are going to use them towards the end
  3. In a food processor, blend softened butter with powdered sugar until creamy
  4. Add cardamom, egg yolk, and yogurt and continue pulsing for less than a minute or until creamy
  5. Add all of the flour at the same time and continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball around the blade and away from the wall, then add saffron and pulse until well blended
  6. Dust your work surface with some flour and remove the dough from the food processor, add the barberries to the dough without kneading and handling the dough too much, cover the dough in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut the dough in half an inch disks
  8. Place on to the tray and decorate with slivered pistachios
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a baking rack and enjoy :)

I hope you enjoy this recipe. As always, I like to know your challenges in the kitchen and find out how I can help. Do you Instagram? Lets chat there :) #saffronbarberrycookies


Here is the list of some of other recipes I made using saffron:

Queen of Almonds 

Persian Jeweled Cake

Coconut Ginger Cookies

*Here are a few links to delicious Iranian recipes using barberries:

Bottom of the pod

Fae's Twist & Tango

Parisa's Kitchen