Orange-Cardamom Sugar Cookies

By • March 30, 2010 • 14 Comments



Author Notes: Our family is all about cookies. We bake cookies for every occasion: birthdays, holidays, vacations, even funerals. I’ve made meringue cookies for my daughter’s birthday. We’ve had a giant chocolate chip cookie for my stepson’s. My mother brings big boxes of home-made cookies and muffins to our family vacation every year. My husband favors chocolate anything, and feels deprived if we don’t have home-baked cookies in the house. (All these recent baking fests have spoiled him!) I love sugar cookies because they’re perfect for throwing together on a rainy day (like today), they can be flavored any way you want, and I like them best when they’re soft and chewy.

Here are my tips for soft chewy cookies:
1. Measure the flour carefully. If you don’t scrape the top off the cup, you can easily add a tablespoon or two of flour, which can make the cookies tough.
2. Use brown sugar. I used 1 cup of light brown sugar and ½ cup of white sugar in the recipe below, but you can use dark brown sugar if you like.
3. Have the butter and eggs at room temperature before you start. Use large eggs.
4. Mix the ingredients together gently and stop just when they’re combined. If you use a stand mixer, keep the speed at “stir.”
5. Chill the dough before baking the cookies.
6. Know your oven and preheat it. Everyone’s oven is different. (This is why it’s so much fun to bake while on vacation—it’s always a surprise.)
7. If possible, bake one sheet at a time so that the cookies bake evenly. (I have to credit Maida Heatter with this suggestion.) Rotate the cookie sheet front to back halfway through the cooking time, and reverse the cookie sheets if you're baking more than one sheet at a time.
8. Err on the side of under-cooking. The cookies should be brown on the edges but still soft in the middle.


I like the combination of orange and cardamom so I used that in the recipe below, but really, the basic recipe can be a canvas for anything….Meyer lemon and finely-chopped toasted pecans…dipped in melted chocolate and covered with sliced toasted almonds…maybe some finely chopped thyme or rosemary….

drbabs

Food52 Review: The flavor of these cookies is phenomenal -- perfectly balanced between orange, cardamom and butter, and not too sweet. The edges flatten and brown quickly while the center remains doughy, which makes for a butter-crisped edge and tender, poundcake-like center. They're a bit fragile after they're cooled, so store them with care. - KristenA&M

Serves about 30

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 sticks ( 1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 yolk of large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one large orange
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir the butter and sugar together till just combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the egg and egg yolk; stir to combine. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest, stir again.
  4. Gently add in the dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring just until they are combined, about 30-45 seconds.
  5. Scoop the dough with a tablespoon and roll into balls. Place evenly on cookie sheets and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. (If the dough is very soft, it may be easier to do this after the dough is chilled.)
  6. Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator and chill dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 375. If you're baking one sheet at a time, place oven rack in the center of the oven. If you want to bake both sheets at the same time, place the racks so that the oven is divided into thirds.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes. Reverse cookie sheets front to back (and switch shelves if you're using 2 shelves). Bake for 5-7 more minutes until cookies are brown on edges and still soft in the center.
  9. Place cookie sheet(s) on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cookies with spatula and place them on wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (14)

Tags: sugar cookies

Comments (14) Questions (2)

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about 4 years ago fortyniner

Thanks for the info on possibilities of making the flavoured sugar I was after.

I made these cookies tonight and they were firstly very easy to make and secondly very tasty - I ended up substituting mandarin zest for the orange zest and used 2 small organic eggs.
Discovered after I had already added the butter that I had picked up the salted butter from the fridge, but it certainly didn't affect the taste! Just have to make sure that we leave enough for my morning tea on Monday - these are the type of cookies that you just can't stop at one!!

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So glad you liked them.

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about 4 years ago fortyniner

Have all the ingredients ready to make these tonight. They look delicious and have friend calling for morning tea so thought I would give these a go. Originally was looking for recipe for orange, cardamom and vanilla sugar and happily discovered this recipe. I used to be able to buy small jars of McCormicks orange, cardamom and vanilla sugar here in Oz, sadly they stopped making it a couple of years ago and oh how I miss that yummy flavouring. It was great for adding to cakes, shaking over icecream,pavlovas etc.
Anyone know how to make this flavoured sugar?. Ingredients on side of jar seem very basic.

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I hope you and your friend enjoy the cookies! I don't know how to make the sugars, but I bet you could try 3 small jars of sugar, one with a vanilla bean, one with a few crushed cardamom pods, and one with some orange zest--and make it yourself. Have a good tea.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Orange + Cardamom (Anything) = Scrumptious. These are drop dead gorgeous. Great recipe. Have actually copied to my online cooking journal (for personal use only, of course) the many very helpful tips in this. I've been baking for please-don't-ask-how-many decades -- since I was about 8 -- and still have so much to learn!! ;o)

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

AntoniaJames, you flatter me...you with all your amazing breads. Feel free to use the tips--they're all ideas I worked up from reading so many cookie recipes and experimenting over the years. Don't we all still have so much to learn?! And isn't this fun?!

Stringio

over 4 years ago testkitchenette

I love the flavors of these! We are a slightly cookie obsessed family as well!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks. Aren't cookies just the best?

Mrs._larkin_370

over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Great tips! And great cookie, too!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Mrs. Larkin. Your cookies both look amazing. I can see why you're a professional baker.

Me

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I've really only been baking for a couple years - a neophite by any definition. There's so many variables. Thanks so much for laying out these tips! And I love cardamom and orange!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Me, too! This is what has worked for me--I hope it works for you, too.

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 4 years ago Lizthechef

wow - great cookie-making lessons, much needed in my kitchen!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Liz!