Cardamom Spritz Cookies

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I’m in two book clubs.  One is co-ed and the other is all mothers of multiples.    My ladies book club just finished reading Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time.  I highly recommend it.   It’s incredibly inspiring and by the end you really believe that one man can make a huge difference.    Most of the story takes place in Pakistan, which became the inspiration for these cookies that I’m bringing to the meeting tonight.   Our lovely hostess will be serving Chai tea to go with them.

One of my sons saw the cookies and said, “Oooo, are these for us?”   He was disappointed when I told him that they weren’t, but his disappointment quickly evaporated after he tried the cookie dough.   The strong taste of cardamom made him spit it out.  He also didn’t love the look of the nuts on the top.   The cookies are still cooling, so it will be interesting to see if he likes them cooked.

I think the cookies are pretty good, but I’m still partial to plain sugar cookies, or spritz cookies with a little almond flavoring.   If you love the taste of cardamom, these cookies are for you!  If you don’t get around to trying the cookies, I highly recommend that you try the book.

Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Recipe by Mary Ellen Rae, printed in the Los Angeles Times

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup sparkling decorative sugar
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for one minute. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks and beat an additional minute.

Sift together the flour and salt. Spoon the flour mixture into the butter mixture and add the cardamom. Beat on low speed, then increase to medium and mix until the batter is combined.

Spoon the dough into a cookie press and press out onto ungreased baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the sparkling sugar and the pistachio nuts, then sprinkle some on each cookie.

Bake just until the edges of the cookies start to turn a pale golden color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack. The cookies will firm up as they cool. When they are completely cool, store in an airtight container. They may be kept frozen up to two months.

Yield:  ~ 5 dozen cookies

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9 comments to Cardamom Spritz Cookies

  • Now I have a tasty recipe using my expensive bottle of cardamom! I fell in love with the exotic spice in the shouk in the Middle East, smelling the hypnotic aroma of cardamom scented Turkish coffee wafting out into the ancient narrow streets. Hooked ever since. Thanks for giving me another way to enjoy this stuff!

  • Connie

    I just read the LA times recipe and this one, there is a slight difference between the two. The recipe in the LA times calls for 1 t cardamom seeds, ground with a mortar and pestal. One teaspoon of already ground cardamom would be more than is called for.

  • StylishCuisine

    Great catch Connie. Perhaps my heavy-handed use of the cardamom was why my son didn’t like the cookies. Next time I make them I’ll cut the cardamom in half if I’m using the pre-ground spice. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Ann Allen

    My mother made these cookies for years! I have carried it on, but lost my recipe. Our recipe didn’t call for decorating sugar or nuts. We made “plows” and “caterpillars” as we called them when young children because of their shapes. It’s not Christmas without them! Also, I’m a purist and use the whole seed and pulverize them.

  • Leslie Granat

    The reason you use less cardamom if using seeds and grinding them is that the fresh seeds are more potent than pre-ground cardamom in a jar. I grew up with my Norwegian family putting cardamom in nearly everything at Christmas, so I love it! 1 tsp of ground cardamom is not too much for this cardamom lover!

  • Leslie Granat

    I tried this recipe and found that it worked much better with 2 1/4 cups flour and 2/3 cup sugar. The first batch crumbled but after I made adjustments in the flour and sugar they turned out much better.

  • StylishCuisine

    Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Liz

    can these be made without a cookie press?

  • StylishCuisine

    My guess is that you can probably make them without a cookie press, although they won’t be as pretty. I’d recommend rolling small pieces of dough into balls, then flattening them on the cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread much.

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