Crispy Cardamom-Brined Nut Cookies

By • February 2, 2011 • 13 Comments


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Author Notes: Here’s my re-interpretation of the pecan crescents we always made during the holidays when I was growing up. For the past few years, I’ve been toasting the pecan pieces before folding them into the dough. It improves the texture of the cookie, and deepens the nut flavor. This recipe takes the cookie to another level. The crispy slow-roasted pecans are lightly scented with orange, bay and cardamom, using the brining technique described in my Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans recipe (which I learned from Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions”).The barley flour gives them a rougher texture than typical nut crescents, but it also gives them a nicer flavor. I like the crusty bite of cookies coated with turbinado sugar, so these are rolled in the sugar, then pressed into rounds before baking. If you don’t have crispy nuts, the recipe works just as well with lightly toasted nuts. You will miss the mild, salty pleasure and delicate, almost savory fragrance of the nuts, however, so I encourage you to try a batch. My recipe here for the cardamom-brined nuts makes twice as many as you need for the cookies. You may want some to nibble on, or you could just as well double this recipe to make twice as many cookies. Or use the extras in salads, etc. They last for several months if kept in an airtight jar, so you’ll have plenty of time to find other great ways to use them. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Makes 16 two-inch cookies (recipe can be doubled)

The Cookies

  • ½ cup turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup barley flour
  • Tiny pinch (a scant 1/8 teaspoon) finely – and freshly -- ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon grains of paradise, coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup Crispy Cardamom Spice-Brined Pecan Pieces, cooled and lightly chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Put 5 tablespoons of the sugar in a shallow bowl with the lemon zest. Stir well to combine and set aside.
  3. Stir together in a small bowl the flours, cardamom, nutmeg and grains of paradise.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat together until very smooth and creamy the butter, remaining sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and water.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the pecans.
  6. Form the dough into balls the size of large walnuts, then roll them in the lemon-scented turbinado sugar.
  7. Place on the baking sheet about three inches apart. Flatten slightly each ball with the bottom of a canning jar or large glass.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack, as the cookies are fragile when very warm.
  9. Enjoy!! ;o)
  10. N.B. If you prefer, you can shape these into crescents, bake for 20 minutes, then dip them into sifted confectioners after they've cooled a bit.

The Cookies

  • ½ cup turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup barley flour
  • Tiny pinch (a scant 1/8 teaspoon) finely – and freshly -- ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon grains of paradise, coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup Crispy Cardamom Spice-Brined Pecan Pieces, cooled and lightly chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Put 5 tablespoons of the sugar in a shallow bowl with the lemon zest. Stir well to combine and set aside.
  3. Stir together in a small bowl the flours, cardamom, nutmeg and grains of paradise.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat together until very smooth and creamy the butter, remaining sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and water.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the pecans.
  6. Form the dough into balls the size of large walnuts, then roll them in the lemon-scented turbinado sugar.
  7. Place on the baking sheet about three inches apart. Flatten slightly each ball with the bottom of a canning jar or large glass.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack, as the cookies are fragile when very warm.
  9. Enjoy!! ;o)
  10. N.B. If you prefer, you can shape these into crescents, bake for 20 minutes, then dip them into sifted confectioners after they've cooled a bit.

The Crispy Cardamom Spice-Brined Pecans

  • 2 cups of raw pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 or 4 pieces
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds (from green pods)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 pieces of orange peel, each 1” x 3”
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with all of the other ingredients except the pecan pieces.
  2. Simmer for about five minutes. Cool to lukewarm, then stir well.
  3. Add the nuts, stir the mixture well, and allow it to soak for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove the pecans from the brining liquid and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Remove the whole spices and the orange peel.
  6. Roast for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Enjoy!! ;o)

The Crispy Cardamom Spice-Brined Pecans

  • 2 cups of raw pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 or 4 pieces
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds (from green pods)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 pieces of orange peel, each 1” x 3”
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with all of the other ingredients except the pecan pieces.
  2. Simmer for about five minutes. Cool to lukewarm, then stir well.
  3. Add the nuts, stir the mixture well, and allow it to soak for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove the pecans from the brining liquid and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Remove the whole spices and the orange peel.
  6. Roast for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Enjoy!! ;o)

Tags: cookies, crispy, Crunchy, Holidays, Holidays, nuts, pecans, savory, sweet and savory

Comments (13) Questions (0)

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over 1 year ago granjan

These are a fabulous ADULT cookie. The recipe was so unusual I had to try them and they are great. These would be wonderful with cider or glogg wine as well as coffee or milk! A lot of time for such a small batch but I doubled the nuts and the cookies. Check oven temp with a thermometer. The A in WARM on my oven held 150degrees perfectly! And Alton Brown mentioned that grains of paradise are used in brewing. And there they were at my local home brew store!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow, that is such useful information about a possible source for grains of paradise! Thanks so much for this tip, as well as for your feedback and (especially) your kind words. I'm glad to know that the recipe is easily doubled. I was short on both pecans and time when I tested these for posting. I plan to make a batch within the next week, so I'll double it and then re-post the adjusted quantities. Thanks again! ;o)

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

These look fabulous AJ! Looooove cardamom!

Annalbu

about 3 years ago AppleAnnie

What an appealing recipe, it could a valentine to myself! I have Sally Fallon's book too, but my electric oven won't go low enough to make the crispy nuts at the recommended temperature.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks so much, AA. How low a temperature can you get? I noticed that the cashews can be dried at 200 to 250 degrees. I've been wondering if perhaps you rig a somewhat insulated system, such as setting a one shallow pan within but not touching the bottom of a larger pan. I envision a shallow baking sheet that has handles resting across but down inside another slightly larger but deeper pan (such as a brownie pan), protecting the smaller pan with the nuts on it somewhat from the direct heat below. Frankly, if I could set my oven at 200, I wouldn't worry that much, even with nuts other than cashews. I'd just turn them more frequently, perhaps take them out for a few minutes periodically, etc., and not roast them for the whole 12 hours. ;o)

Annalbu

about 3 years ago AppleAnnie

My lowest oven temp is 170. Thanks for the suggestion AJ, I will try your ingenious nested pan suggestion, at 170, and I'll turn the nuts frequently, and maybe turn the oven off and on periodically as well. So happy to have a way to make these cripsy nuts.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Did you see the recipe I posted this morning for cashews with bay, vanilla, cumin and cinnamon? They're excellent, too. I roasted a batch last night at 200 degrees for not quite twelve hours, and they turned out beautifully. I bet that combination would be great with almonds, if you like them better. All of them are pretty darn good, though, if I may say so. ;o)

Stringio

about 3 years ago testkitchenette

LOVE, I am a big fan of Sally Fallon...and your use of barley flour.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks! The barley flour is really nice. It's one of my favorite baking ingredients these days, as is evident from so many of the recipes I've posted in the past year or so . . . . ;o)

2-11_016

about 3 years ago SallyCan

mmmmmmmm.......

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this--I made your pecans last night and was thinking they'd be great in cookies. I make a similar cookie called a pecan dainty that has a pecan on top--really great recipe, AJ!

Dsc_0048b

about 3 years ago healthierkitchen

just fantastic!

Gator_cake

about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

These nuts sound fabulous. Love the grains of paradise in the cookies, too.