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Craig Claiborne’s Cardamom Cookies

You can’t go wrong with Maida Heatter. I’m sure that there are recipes of hers that are not universally popular (Check out the judging panel’s comments in Cathy’s Mondays with Maida to see if they ever find a bad one), but I have yet to try a recipe that does not work. And, of course, I love just about all of them.

Case in point, these cardamom cookies struck me as calling for an unusual mixing process. The spice, baking soda and salt were creamed into the butter before the sugar was added. Perhaps this is for more even distribution of the spice in the cookies? In any event, I went ahead with the recipe as written with only two small changes. First, I slightly increased the cardamom and did not use fresh ground. Too lazy for that. It is well over 100F here today and I am not grinding spices. Please overlook the illogic in refusing to grind spices but unhesitatingly running my oven to bake. Second, I added some vanilla because I think that cardamom and vanilla are an amazing combination.

If you do not know who Craig Claiborne is, take a peek at his biography. Among other things, he definately knew a good cookie. You can read the original recipe text here, where it is reprinted from Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. I simplified the originals into drop cookies because, to blame the heat again, I didn’t feel like rolling them out.
The cookies are slightly chewy, slightly crunchy and slightly shortbready. They’re also very good – no “slightly” about it.

Craig Claiborne’s Cardamom Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together flour and cream of tartar into a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream butter, cardamom, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand onto a parchment lined baking sheet. They will spread a bit, but not too much, as they bake.
Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are a light, golden brown. Let them rest on the baking sheet for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 45 cookies.

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  • Pille
    July 17, 2005

    Hi Nic – thanks for visiting my blog and the comment!
    I’m a great fan of cardamom (I _always_ add some cardamom to my cinnamon roll dough – it gives such a divine smell), so I’m going to give your cookies a try..

  • Clare Eats
    July 17, 2005

    They look sooooooo good nic!

    I think creaming the spice might allow some of the oils in the cardomon to come out???? But the soda I am lost there too…

    What did you use to imprint the top of the cookies?

  • Cathy
    July 17, 2005

    Hi Nic – these look great and I love the idea of flattening little balls rather then rolling them out. You know, I have this book, but I’m not sure I’ve ever made anything from it. I’ll have to put a big star by this one!

    I’d love to know what’s behind the mixing instructions, but I can’t think of what it might be!

  • Nic
    July 17, 2005

    Thanks Pille!

    Clare – I actually used a mini whisk I have. I just dipped it in water and marked the top. I’m glad it turned out so cute!

    Cathy – You’ll be making Maida goodies for the next decade!!

  • cookie jill
    July 17, 2005

    She does indeed know her baking…but sometimes the directions run a bit long and can be intimidating at first.

  • Emily
    July 17, 2005

    i’ve seen this recipe and i’ve been meaning to make them!! they sound fantastic and now i guess i will just have to after hearing how good they are. and i’m glad that not rolling them out produces a delicious cookie too.. because i hate rolling cookies!

  • Helen (AugustusGloop)
    July 17, 2005

    Yum. These sound great!

    And I love your ingenuity using a whisk for making star imprints!

  • Niki
    July 18, 2005

    I love the idea of using cardamom. I have a big jar of pods and am usually looking for recipes in which I can use them. I think I’ll try these for a trivia night next week!

  • Clare Eats
    July 18, 2005

    The mini whisk was a brilliant idea! they look so cute I would never have guessed.

    Please check this out 🙂

    Thanks SO MUCH! YOU ROCK

  • Michèle
    July 18, 2005

    Hi Nic,
    I LOVE cardamom and am definitely going to make these cookies. And I agree with Clare, the imprint is a great touch!

  • Eva
    July 18, 2005

    Oh goodness, guess what I’ll be making tonight!

  • Nic
    July 18, 2005

    I almost used a fork, but then I started looking around for other inspiration. I wonder what else would make a good imprinter….

  • Niki
    July 18, 2005

    Well, I’m smiling at all the posts about your care packages, Nic. I wanted to sit this round out, and just check what might happen with Australian quarantine before I accepted the invitation to join in (especially with my partner’s aunt so highly involved with AQIS. Didn’t want to be chastised at the dinner table!), but I feel more comfortable about things getting to us intact now, so I’ll have to participate in the next round. 🙂

  • Sam
    July 19, 2005

    I can attest – these cookies are delicious. I received some in the mail yesterday, and ate about half a dozen in one sitting – so I should know!

    thank you!!!

  • Nic
    July 20, 2005

    Real taster feedback! Thanks, Sam, I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  • Alison
    July 20, 2005

    hey – just thinking of making these at the weekend as they sound brilliant – i’m wondering – do you think icing them would be too much?

  • Nic
    July 20, 2005

    Allison – I’m really not sure. I think that if you like icing, you should go for it. They’re not super sweet, so I don’t think it would be overkill. A thinned cream cheese type icing would probably taste really good with these.

  • Pille
    August 2, 2005

    Hi Nic – just wanted to let you know that I made some mayonnaise cookies last weekend and used your tip about pressing star-shapes on cookies with a balloon whisk. My ‘stars’ didn’t look as beautiful as yours, but they still looked beautiful. Thanks for the tip!!!

  • Nic
    August 2, 2005

    Pille – You’re welcome! I am going to try other things in the kitchen to fancy up my cookies in the future, too.

  • Maddy
    August 26, 2007

    I first made these a few months ago, and they have become one of my favorite cookies. Sometimes I roll them in sugar before I bake- they taste a bit like snickerdoodles, but the cardamom gives them a unique flavor and takes them to a whole new level!

  • MiracleMommy
    October 15, 2013

    I just found your version of these while looking up my recipe that I didn’t feel like digging out. I’ve been making these since 2005 too!

    I’ve done them this way also, rolling them into balls and pressing, sometimes just using my fingers or a glass, but I like to dip into rose water, because rose water and cardamom are so good together. Sometimes we press and almond in the middle.

    If I roll them out, I have found that if I roll them very thinly, that they will come out with a texture and crispiness similar to Anna’s Ginger Thins, which I love — only cardamom flavored instead of ginger. My husband prefers the thicker ones from rolling into a ball, they are more similar then to a traditional middle eastern cardamom cookie he loves with tea.

    I also use ground cardamom instead of grinding my own, even though I always have cardamom pods on hand for tea. Just blah, too much to throw together a quick batch of cookies, overkill if I’m doing several recipes for holidays. I also double the amount of cardamom.

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