Orange Cardamom Cookies

Orange Cardamom CookieWhile planning my annual holiday baking menu several years ago, I found myself pondering the exquisite versatility of cardamom: an ingredient I’d tasted as it splendidly sang in both savory and sweet treats alike.  Before I knew it, I added a heap of the spice to a soft, shortbread-like dough, paired it with tart orange, and topped it off with a drizzle of dark chocolate.  The result was magnificent, and now I can hardly imagine a winter without my treasured ritual of creating these cookies.

Orange cardamom cookies offer a distinctive spice, a tangy citrus punch, and a decadent tad of a topping.  Moist, soft and crumbly with a chewy center, the variety of texture and flavor in each bite is a salute to the very versatility that inspired them.  Now a traditional staple in my holiday baking repertoire, these cookies bestow not only their fragrant succulence but also their gem-like beauty when included in a decorative tin as a gift.

Orange Cardamom Cookies (makes about 4 dozen small cookies)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugarOrange Cardamom Cookie
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom**
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at soft room temperature
  • finely grated zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, either chopped or in the form of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom.  Add the butter, mixing dough until consistency is even and it sticks together (using your hands can be easiest).  Fold in the orange zest until evenly distributed.

Using about a scant tablespoon of dough per cookie, make balls of dough and place them 1.25″ apart from one another on the lined cookie sheets. Push index finger into center of each ball, using other hand to brace cookie and prevent it from cracking.  Freeze the cookies for a few minutes, then fill holes with marmalade until heaping (using a pastry bag or plastic bag with its corner cut off is easiest).  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.  Once cookies have cooled to room temperature, carefully melt the chocolate until just smooth, then drizzle it over the cookies using a fork.  Let chocolate cool until hardened, then devour!  Keep cookies cool in an airtight container for up to a week.

Orange Cardamom Cookie

**Maybe next time… While I’ve always used the full tablespoon of cardamom with great results, the spice can have a pretty strong flavor, and different kinds can be more potent than others (based on freshness and variety); you might want to add your cardamom gradually, to taste, up to 1 tablespoon maximum.  As for the marmalade, DIYers may endeavor to make orange marmalade for these cookies (and I hope to do so someday!). For cookie-filling ease, the key is that the orange peel be not in long strands but small pieces.  I like Scandinavian Delights Danish Orange Spread, but I’ve also enjoyed other kinds, snipping the long pieces of rind with kitchen shears when needed.  Aside from marmalade experiments, you might try replacing the chocolate with an icing made of powdered sugar and orange juice — it’s just as delicious but also a bit sweeter.

Orange Cardamom CookieOrange Cardamom CookieOrange Cardamom Cookie

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21 Responses to Orange Cardamom Cookies

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  4. Rachel says:

    These looked delicious to me, so I just made them at a cookie-baking party. I have to say, they did not turn out so well, sadly. The buttery flavor is great, but the cardamom left a bitter, odd after-taste. Perhaps my cadamom is old or bad? It was a newly opened container. Oh well, glad I tried them, and will definitely try other recipes on your site. I love your flavor combos.

    • Hi Rachel, Thanks so much for trying these and for your feedback. I’m so sorry to hear about the aftertaste! I haven’t ever had that happen before, but I can see how different cardamom could be more or less potent. What a bummer that it had to happen at a cookie party! Thanks to you, I will add the option in the recipe to lessen the amount of cardamom to taste, especially if it seems extra strong flavored.

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  8. I am a little cardamom-obsessed myself! I started putting it in my oatmeal last year, and I’ve never turned back! These look absolutely delicious and gorgeous–I love that bright sun of orange with the chocolate streaks.

    • Oooh! Cardamom oatmeal sounds wondrously addictive.
      Thanks for your sweet words!

      • CG Olsen says:

        I always use some when I make steel cut oats. As far as orange-cardomom combos, I think the gelato place in the food court in the Gourmet Ghetto often has an orange-cardomom flavor (I’ve had pistachio-cardomom ice cream before too, AMAZING!).

      • I love that gelato place! Cardamom oats sound delicious, and the pistachio-cardamom combo sounds absolutely wonderful; I think I may use that for future inspiration in the kitchen — thanks!

  9. katy says:

    These look so beautiful; I’m also a lover of cardamom and I like the sound of combining it with chocolate and orange. Really, I like any dough in which you can see flecks of cardamom; it’s always a sign of good things to come.

  10. Those are a winner in my book. You know I don’t think I’ve every used cardamom – is there some way to describe the flavor? Now at least I know what I can use it for & I thank you.

    • Hmm… cardamom has such a particular flavor — it’s very fragrant but not the kind of spice that burns. A little like cinnamon or allspice, I suppose. Have you had chai tea? It’s usually one of the main spices in chai, and in Indian food in general. Anyway, I so appreciate your kind words and your openness to unusual ingredients!

      • Oh, I think I’ve got it. The chai tea was the best hint. And I really do like learning about new flavors. Seems like I stick with what I know but that gets very boring after a while.

  11. Suzanne says:

    What a lovely blog! Just found it thanks to an old friend-in-common. 😉 I love your inventive yet sensible recipes, a number of which have just made their way to my to-bake list!

  12. Wowee zowee – this screams “Happy New Year” to me!

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