Dinner with Kirsten

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Cardamom Christmas Cookies

December 8th, 2008 · 20 Comments

cardamom cookies

It’s cookie season!! I’m starting out slow this year, with a simple recipe my sister made a few years ago. I remembered it because of the distinctive cardamom spice. There’s no other flavor like it, really. 
Cardamom is an ancient spice closely related to ginger. Native to India and Sri Lanka, the Vikings probably introduced cardamom to Scandinavian countries, where it is still used in sweets and baked goods today. In fact, in Sweden, it is more widely used than cinnamon!

The part-Swede in me, the part that gets excited whenever I eat Swedish meatballs at Ikea, loved making these cookies. But more than making them, I enjoy eating them. The high butter content makes for delicious, crispy, rich cookies that pair perfectly with strong coffee or tea.

I made a full batch of these, but when I saw how many cookies it was going to make I stuck one cookie dough log into the freezer, double wrapped in plastic wrap. It should keep there for about a month.

cardaomom cookies

Cardamom Butter Cookiescardamom cookies
Adapted from Gourmet

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 oz fine-quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted (for drizzling)

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Form dough into 2 (12-inch) logs (1 1/2 inches in diameter), each on its own sheet of plastic wrap. Use plastic wrap and your hands to roll, press, and square off sides of logs. The dough will be very soft at this point, so let the logs chill on a baking sheet until they’re somewhat firm, about one hour. Then smooth out the edges of the logs through the plastic wrap and try to flatten the sides. Once shaped, continue to chill the logs on the baking sheet until firm, about 1 more hour.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut enough scant 1/4-inch-thick slices from a log with a knife to fill 2 large ungreased baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remaining dough, wrapped in plastic wrap).

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

Once cookies are cooled, melt chocolate over a pan of simmering water in the stove or in the microwave (carefully!!). Spoon the chocolate into a plastic bag and snip off one of the tips. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and let set up for a few hours before stacking them.

Dough logs can be chilled 5 days or frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, 1 month (thaw in refrigerator just until they can be sliced). · Cookies (with or without icing) keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Tags: baking · dessert · recipes

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mom // Dec 9, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I remember these from last year and they were great! By the way, I made the green bean casserole last night. Love, Mom

  • 2 Heather // Dec 17, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    those are just beautiful. i really enjoy cardamom, too, although i’ve never made it the centerpiece in a recipe. i’ll have to try it - especially now that i know so much more about it!

  • 3 Grandpa’s New Cardamom Sour-Cream Waffles // Jan 16, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    […] may recall from my cardamom Christmas cookies that cardamom is a popular spice in Sweden (it’s as commonly used there as cinnamon is in the […]

  • 4 Kathy // Dec 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I just made a batch of these cookies and love them! The flavor of cardamom really shines through. A perfect cookie for nibbling with a cup of tea.

  • 5 Linda // Dec 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    For years my sister and I have been looking for the cookies my grandma made every year and sent to us. All I know is the cookies were refrigerator cookies and had spices plus cardamon in them. These look exactly like those cookies and have all the right ingredients. I am so anxious to try them. Thank you.

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