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Craig Claiborne's Cardamom Cookies



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Spices of Historical Significance: Green Cardamom Pods, Coriander, Allspice, and Nutmeg
Spices of Historical Significance:
Green Cardamom Pods, Coriander, Allspice, and Nutmeg

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Craig Claiborne’s Cardamom Cookies

Maida Heatter's Brand-New
 Book of Great Cookies

by Maida Heatter, 1995, Random House


“Craig is my hero. [He is one of ours, too!] Not only is he my all-time favorite cookbook author, but even if he had never written a recipe, I would love him
just as much. This delicious cookie is from his book, ‘An Herb and Spice
Cookbook’, which was published in 1963.
Did you ever use cardamom? I did, but I never really tasted it until I tried
this recipe. This time, instead of buying ground cardamom, I bought the
whole seeds and peeled and ground them myself just before using. There is
a big difference in flavor – involved and exotic but mellow.
I have often bought packaged cookies and thought the texture of the cookies
divine. I read the ingredients to see if I could find out what was responsible
for the texture. The list of ingredients included so many strange names of
chemicals that I didn’t have a clue as to what had made them so crisp, flaky,
sandy, and light. Well, these cookie have that same elusive texture but no
strange-sounding ingredients.
These are lovely, simple cookies with an unusual flavor and texture – once
you have prepared the cardamom (it takes a few minutes), they are quick
and easy.”

36 cookies

A few teaspoonfuls whole cardamom
(to make 1/2 teaspoon ground)
2 1/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 packed cup light brown sugar
1 egg graded “large”

Adjust a rack to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil,
shiny side up; set aside.
The cardamom pods may be green or bleached. The green will have a
little more flavor than the bleached, but they’re both good. To prepare
them, work on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut a few teaspoon-
fuls of the pods in half the long way. Then either shake the seeds (they
will be black and/or gray) out of the shells, or, if necessary, use the point
of a small knife to nudge them out. Discard the shells. Grind the seeds in
an electric grinder; you could use a coffee grinder or a pepper mill (I
use a Cuisinart Mini-Mate). Strain through a fine sieve. Measure 1/2 teaspoon; set aside.
Sift together the flour and cream of tartar; set aside.
In the small or large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until soft.
Add the ground cardamom, baking soda, and salt; beat to mix. Beat in the sugar, then the egg. Finally, on low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients
and beat until incorporated.
Flour a pastry cloth and a rolling pin. Work with half the dough at a time.
Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter
(I use a 2-inch round cutter). Place the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, reversing the sheet front to back once after 5 minutes. The cookies will rise and puff up during baking, and then they will begin to settle down a bit just when they
are done. When done, they will be a light-golden honey color all over.
With a wide metal spatula transfer to racks to cool; when cool, store in
an airtight container.

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