I love cardamom. Have I told you that? It’s my new favorite spice in the kitchen. I first began using this spice about a year ago when I made a dish of Afghan dumplings with lamb kofta. I decided to just toss a bit in there and was amazed at the aroma and the sweet flavor that it infused throughout the dish. Since then, I’ve used it wherever possible in cakes, breads, etc., as well as in recipes calling for ground meat.
Cardamom comes from the ginger family and has a really intense, fragrant, sweet flavor. In India, it’s traditionally used in curries; and in Scandinavian countries, where it is more popular than cinnamon, it is commonly added to breads. However, most of the world’s cardamom is used in Arabic countries as a flavoring for coffee.
A small amount of cardamom adds a lot of flavor, so I’d start with 1/4 tsp and add from there.
Because I’m still pretty limited in activity due to my ankle surgery, I was home all afternoon. I was in the mood to bake so I looked in my cabinets and came up with this recipe for spiced cookies.
Spiced Date Almond Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup sugar (half white, half brown)
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp water
- 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
- 1 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift together all of the dry ingredients: the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom and add slowly to the butter mixture. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dates and water. Add, along with the almonds, to the rest of the batter.
Very gently, roll tablespoon-sized amounts of batter into a ball and place on baking sheet, leaving about two inches between cookies. Using the back of a spoon gently flatten the cookies slightly. (Hint: wet the spoon so it doesn’t stick to the batter.) Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cook slightly for five minutes on the baking sheets and then place on a rack until fully cooled.
Do not overbake.