Cardamom Cookies

What is it about a plate piled high with cookies that is so hard to resist? I certainly can’t resist.  Apparently neither can my family, who ate four bags worth of cookies in two days when I brought them the results of last weeks recipe testing.   I had just spent the previous week working to find just the right cookie for dipping into chai. I’ve actually been searching for the perfect chai cookie recipe for the past two years and I think I finally found it.

My fixation for the perfect chai cookie started on my first visit to India.  We had been married in the US and flew to India for a wedding reception.  Our month-long trip turned into my new family taking their son and his new bride to visit every person they knew. I kid you not, one day we must have visited five different homes.

At the time, I didn’t know a word of Hindi…who am I kidding, I still hardly know any Hindi…so these “house visits” consisted of my sitting in a strangers house, trying desperately to look like I actually understood the unrecognizable conversation that was happening around me.  After ten minutes, when my attention would start to drift and I was in danger of appearing bored, our hostess would walk out with a tray of cups brimming with chai and a plate lined with little cookies.  This was always the part of the trip I looked forward to the most. It was the only aspect of the visit I could fully appreciate without a translator.  Needless to say, after I came back home from that first trip, it was hard to kick the cookie habit.

Indian cookies have such unusual flavors.  I’m used to vanilla and chocolate cookies.  With Indian cookies you get flavors like orange, pistachio and almond.  I’ve even seen rose flavored cookies. My favorite flavor when it comes to “dipping” cookies…or biscuits as they are called in India…is cardamom.

So what makes a great “dunking” cookie? A great tea cookie should be subtle in flavor so it doesn’t compete with the chai, yet easily enjoyed on it’s own.  It also can’t crumble away or become soggy when dunked, but it should also be soft and flaky.   Want to find out how good it is?  Let’s get baking…

 

Cardamom Cookie Recipe

adapted from: Cook’s Country “Melting Moments” cookies

This is an easy “dump and stir” cookie recipe, which means all you need are some mixing bowls and a spoon.

These cookies have a very tender texture, similar to short bread.  So they crumble easily.  I discovered that when I stored them in a plastic bag they turned into powder within a few days.   I now store them in plastic food containers.

The original recipe had a wonderful texture that I was after and to adapt it into a chai cookie, I added a tablespoon of ground cardamom.  I also used all cake flour rather than mixing in rice flour as the original recipe suggests.  Using cake flour in place of all purpose flour creates a much softer cookie.

INGREDIENTS

        4 Tablespoons melted butter
        3 Tablespoons heavy cream
        1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/4 Cups cake flour
    1/4 Cup corn starch
        1 Tablespoon cardamom
    1/8 Teaspoon salt
    2/3 Cup confectioners sugar
      12 Tablespoons butter, room temperature or softened

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, mix together the heavy cream and vanilla and melted butter.  Let the melted butter cool off for a minute before adding it.

2. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients: cake flour, corn starch, ground cardamom and salt.

3. Add the confectioners sugar to the butter and cream mixture, stir until completely combined.

4. Add the softened butter in small batches. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo.)

If you’re like me and you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge, here is a tip for softening butter in 30 seconds.

5.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  To make it easier to mix, add the flour mixture in smaller batches, incorporating each batch before adding the next.  Pouring it all in at once gives you a cloud of flour that can be hard to stir.

6. Shape the cookies and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the baking rack in the center.

TO SHAPE THE COOKIES

I got these two great tricks from the original recipe at Cook’s Country.

EASY LOG COOKIES

1. Plop the dough into the middle of a piece of parchment paper

2. Fold the parchment in half, keeping the loose edges toward you. Using a ruler or in my case a long rolling pin, press against the dough until it spreads towards the side and takes the shape of an evenly sized cylinder to form a cookie “log”.

3. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.  Then unwrap it, slice it into cookies sizes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

FANCY STARS

1. If you have a pastry bag and a star tip, fill the bag halfway with cookie dough. Pipe the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Space the cookies about 1-inch apart. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking to keep their shape.

I bought my disposable pastry bags and plastic star tip from Michaels in the cake decorating section.

BAKE

Bake at 300-degrees for 20 minutes.  Start checking them at 15 minutes. If you can smell the cardamom and the bottoms of the cookies are starting to look a light golden brown, they are done.  Place the cookie sheets onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then you can remove the cookies from the cookie sheet (moving them using the parchment paper makes it much easier)and let them cool completely.

Dear Readers,

Do you all have a favorite tea cookie? 

 

Cardamom Cookie Recipe

adapted from: Cook’s Country “Melting Moments” cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

        4 Tablespoons melted butter
        3 Tablespoons heavy cream
        1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/4 Cups cake flour
    1/4 Cup corn starch
        1 Tablespoon cardamom
    1/8 Teaspoon salt
    2/3 Cup confectioners sugar
      12 Tablespoons butter, room temperature or softened

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, mix together the heavy cream and vanilla and melted butter.  Let the melted butter cool off for a minute before adding it.

 

2. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients: cake flour, corn starch, ground cardamom and salt.

 

3. Add the confectioners sugar to the butter and cream mixture, stir until completely combined.

 

4. Add the softened butter in small batches.

If you’re like me and you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge, here is a tip for softening butter in 30 seconds.

 

5.  Add the flour mixture.  To make it easier to mix, add the flour mixture in smaller batches, incorporating each batch before adding the next.  Pouring it all in at once gives you a cloud of flour that can be hard to stir.

 

6. Shape the cookies and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the baking rack in the center.

 

 

BAKE

Bake at 300-degrees for 20 minutes.  Start checking them at 15 minutes. If you can smell the cardamom and the bottoms of the cookies are starting to look a light golden brown, they are done.  Place the cookie sheets onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then you can remove the cookies from the cookie sheet (moving them using the parchment paper makes it much easier)and let them cool completely.

 

 

TO SHAPE THE COOKIES

I got these two great tricks from the original recipe at Cook’s Country.

 

EASY LOG COOKIES

1. Plop the dough into the middle of a piece of parchment paper

2. Fold the parchment in half, keeping the loose edges toward you.

3. Using a ruler or in my case a long rolling pin, press against the dough until it spreads towards the size and takes the shape of an evenly sized cylinder to form a cookie “log”.  Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden.  Then un wrap it, slice it into cookies sizes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

 

FANCY STARS

1. If you have a pastry bag and a star tip, fill the bag halfway with cookie dough.

2. Pipe the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Space the cookies about 1-inch apart. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking to keep their shape.

 

17 Comments

  1. 5-12-2013

    What an amazing post! You are very talented, and I’ve seen your video on speaking hindi and you’re a natural!

    I feel like I already know you :)

    Keep up the awesome posts!

    • 5-12-2013

      Thanks so much Nitya, you’re a real sweetheart :)

  2. 5-13-2013

    These cookies look awesome! I wonder if they are like ‘Nankhatai’. My favorite chai-dipping cookie would be a warm spiced ginger cookie and layered puff-pastry bars called ‘khari biscuits’. I love how the chai lends its flavor to these and how these two lend their flavor to the chai.

    • 5-13-2013

      Hi Priti

      Only in that they are tea cookies. I learned nankhatai from my Mummy-ji and it’s a much harder cookie. I don’t know about khari biscuits, do you have a good recipe for that and the ginger cookie? They sound fantastic.

      • 5-13-2013

        Khari Biscuit is nothing but stacked layers of puff pastry dough one on top of other, cut into bar shape and baked! You can add a flavoring if you like but they are mostly had plain. It’s still almost impossible to get boxed puff pastry dough in India so this was a special treat! Since it was rare to find an oven in an Indian kitchen the cookies would be storebought or bought from the cookie vendor who would sell it door to door carrying his goodies in a huge tin box hauled over his head and calling out names of his special cookies as he passed through the streets. The effect it had on children was similar to the sound of the icecream truck passing in the neighbourhood. :)

        The best ginger cookie I’ve had is the Triple Ginger Cookie from Trader Joe’s.

        • 5-13-2013

          it sounds wonderful! I love the image of the puff pastry being a special treat and of the neighborhood cookie vendor.
          I’ve got a Trader Joe’s nearby, I’ll have to give those ginger cookies a taste. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

  3. 5-14-2013

    What a great twist on an old favorite, “Melting Moments”!
    Isn’t fun to ‘Indianize’ an old recipe with Indian flavors?
    I bet you could make a saffron flavored ‘Melting Moment’ by soaking saffron in the melted butter in the recipe that would be great.
    I do the ‘cookie log’ thing with lots of different cookie doughs, then I wrap the ‘log in cling film & store it in the freezer. Most doughs will keep up to 3 months in the freezer & you can take it out & “slice’n'bake” fresh cookies anytime.
    I have a recipe for Kashmiri Cardamom cookies that is very simple-
    http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/cookies/kashmiri-cardamon-cookies.html

    • 5-15-2013

      Hi Beatrix

      I’m so glad you like the Indian-twist. I had never heard of “Melting Moments” before, but they are fantastic.

      You’re recipe for cardamom cookies looks great and simple, I’ll have to give it a try. I’ve stored my last test batch of cookies in the freezer as well, just wrapped in the parchment with another layer of tin foil. I love being able to keep things in the freezer, but sometimes it’s hard to tell how long they’ll keep.

  4. 6-11-2013

    Hi Colleen,
    I am new to baking..can you please explain what is the difference between cake flour and plain flour(maida in hindi) ?

    • 6-12-2013

      Hi Amita

      That’s a great question. Mainly, cake flour makes things more soft and tender while plain flour (also known as all-purpose flour, and maida in Hindi) makes things chewier.

      If you want the scientific reason why, it’s because all-purpose flour has more gluten in it and cake flour has less. Gluten makes things chewy.

      I hope that helps!

  5. 7-11-2013

    hi colleen
    another awesome recipe i am makng it tomorrow .i cannot wait :)thank u

    • 7-11-2013

      Great!

  6. 9-16-2013

    Ooh I can’t wait to try these!

  7. 10-14-2013

    Hi,
    So, guess what! I was looking all morning yesterday for recipes of cardamom cookies, after thinking about them for two days, and I found your site. Although I ended up making them by a slightly different recipe, I took a note of yours, and then when I came back to it, I found out you’re from Santa Cruz. So get that: I live in Santa Cruz now! :) (My wife used to live in Chico, by the way, when we dated.)
    Anyway, I came back to it with slightly more attention, and ended up cooking chole the same night. I will be a frequent visitor, I think! :)
    Somehow, I love how you present these posts, and it appeals to my white-person non-cook sensitivity that you try to make it look simple. Although I never was afraid of Indian cooking, it never came out quite good. I think now I am at a new phase.
    I love Indian culture, too!
    So, keep up the good work, and thanks for posting!

    • 10-16-2013

      Looks like we’ve lived a bit a of parallel life! Where in Santa Cruz do you live? We come to visit Aptos on the weekends. Hubby and I want to go visit Chico again and reminisce over the days when we met in college.

      Hey, so glad you are enjoying the recipes! That is great to hear. I love hearing how the recipes turn out :)

  8. 1-12-2014

    I just made these – they are fantastic!!

    • 1-25-2014

      oh yay! I’m so glad you like them, they are so great along with chai

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