There are so many spices - hundreds, in fact - that it's a real challenge to pick a favorite. However, with a gun to my head, I would have to name cardamom. There's something very comforting yet invigorating about its taste. These little pods pack a strong, distinctive flavor that pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients. If you're looking for ways to play with this unique spice, check out this list of pairings, which includes apricots, squash, and curries.
Cardamom might be best recognized as an important part of chai spice blends, and for a simple treat, throw some cardamom pods in green or black tea while it steeps (the way I first came to enjoy it). This spice also lends its flavor well to coffee and is commonly used in the traditional Turkish style. Ground cardamom is available at most grocery stores, but for cardamom pods, head to a specialty store like Baiz Market. They also have cardamom tea in bagged and loose leaf varieties.
Although it has limitless possibilities, cardamom really shines as the star ingredient in baked goods with a hint of almonds, pistachios, or walnuts to round out the flavor. And, it goes without saying that cardamom cookies are the perfect snack with a cup of tea or coffee.
This recipe for Cardamom Cookies comes from The Cookiepedia: Mixing, Baking, and Reinventing the Classics by Stacy Adimando. There are thousands of cookie cookbooks to choose from, but this one is a standout. So, unless you're one of the weirdos who doesn't like cookies, you should definitely own this book. Not only are these Cardamom Cookies incredibly addictive, but The Cookiepedia also offers a killer Oatmeal Raisin recipe. And while most recipes are fun to tinker with, these are so good that you won't want to.
Cardamom Cookies with Slivered Almonds
2/3 c. unsalted butter, room temperature 1 c. sugar 2 eggs 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder 3/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. ground cardamom Small cup of milk, or 2 egg whites, for brushing Slivered almonds, lightly crushed
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until they're light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until a smooth mixture forms.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir in the cardamom. Add the dry ingredients half at a time and beat until incorporated. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and form it into a disk. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge (or 20 minutes in the freezer).
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3. Cut the dough into quarters and set one quarter on a lightly floured work surface. Keep the other 3 in the fridge while you work. Roll out the dough into 1/4-inch thick, cut out the cookies, and place them on the cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Brush the top of the cookies with the milk or lightly beaten egg whites and sprinkle with the crushed almonds. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. A few minutes after the cookies are out of the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack. Wait about 10 minutes, and enjoy!
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy cardamom? Leave a comment to share your ideas and recipes.