When I was browsing sites for ideas for this month of projects, I saw a cardamom cookie. I love cardamom but have never used it in cooking. I bookmarked the site but when I revisited it later, the cookie seemed overly complicated. Then I found some recipes for Lemon Ice Cream and I thought a good a simple, buttery cookie flavored with cardamom would go with Lemon Ice Cream.
I looked around and found a recipe from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen. Deb at Smitten Kitchen offers up a slice-and-bake cookie recipe that is the base for many add-in options. I decided to give it a try with the addition of cardamom and chopped pecans. Smitten Kitchen uses unsalted butter which I know a lot of recipes call for. I don’t usually have it on hand, so I used my regular, salted butter and omitted the pinch of salt she added.
I’m happy with the results but after 30DoC is done and I bake another batch, I’d make a few changes: I’ve been thinking about some chopped, candied ginger to balance the cardamom and add a little more sweetness. A bit of orange zest would also go well with the flavors in this cookie. Another option would be to roll the dough into balls and coat the finished cookies in powdered sugar, much like a Mexican Wedding Cookie. The recipe as it stands is not very sweet.
In the meantime, I was right about the combination of the cookie with yesterday’s Lemon Custard Ice Cream. The short, buttery cookie with the cardamom flavor familiar from chai tea or perhaps from Nordic baked goods is a delicious match with the refreshing zing of the lemon in the ice cream.
Let me point out something that should have been obvious this morning when I started making the cookies. I’d read quickly through the recipe, I knew the dough needed to be chilled. But it is chilled twice: first you make the dough and divide it into two balls and chill for 30 minutes. Then you roll it into logs, chill for two hours and proceed to slice and bake. So plan accordingly!
Or…do as I did after the initial 30 minutes and pinch off balls of dough, place on parchment covered baking sheet and press with a sugar-dipped glass and bake. They turned out fine and I was able to bring them along when I went to see my mom this morning.
Cardamom Pecan Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 50 cookies
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature (you can put the eggs into a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes to take off the chill)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup finely chopped (or ground) pecans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
granulated sugar for topping (optional)
Smitten Kitchen has many suggestions of options to add in to the basic recipe or to roll the dough logs in before slicing. For example, grated orange zest and dried cranberries, or mini chocolate chips. If you omit the nuts, add another 1/2 cup of flour.
Beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until combined. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat in cardamom and pecans. Add the flour and beat until just combined. Don’t over beat. I turned off the mixer and finished stirring in the flour at the bottom of the bowl.
Scrape the dough into a ball, divide the ball in half, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
If you are going to make these as slice-and bake cookies than drop down to the next paragraph. If you are ready to bake now, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pinch off small pieces of dough and make little balls (about 1 inch) and place on parchment covered baking sheet.
Dip the bottom of a glass in granulated sugar in a small bowl and press on balls of dough. Bake for about 12 minutes until set but not browned. Cool on racks.
Back to the slice-and-bake directions: Roll each ball of dough into a log that is about 1 inch to 1 1/4 inch thick. It was fairly sticky so I found it easiest to do this on a piece of parchment paper. Cover dough logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you want to coat the log in something (chopped nuts, poppyseeds), this is the time to do it. Slice logs into pieces 1/3 inch thick and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes until set but not browned. Cool on racks.
Dough logs can be wrapped tightly and kept in the fridge if you want to just slice off a few cookies at a time and bake.
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