I am really in the holiday spirit this week! There has been a lot of baking, wrapping, and sneaking around, which is always fun. My favorite thing to do is to make the kids think there is no way they will get the thing they most want, then spring it on them Christmas morning. It’s a little warped, I know.
This time of year I use an excessive amount of my favorite spice of all time, cardamom. I love it because my grandmother and mother made special Norwegian cookies with it every Christmas. I really enjoy it in sweets, but it also plays a major role in my savory cooking. I use it numerous curries, pilafs, and marinades year ’round.
This recipe, though, is meant to spice up your holiday baking. These cookies are sweet, exotic, and make a terrific accompaniment to coffee, tea, or a tall glass of milk.
I especially like them this time of year because they remind me of the Nutcracker Ballet. I grew up watching the San Francisco Ballet production of that holiday classic, and one of the scenes was titled Arabian Coffee. The boys always liked that scene best, as it included a ballerina in belly-dancing garb. Happy Bellidays!
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
2 TB. instant powdered espresso
3-2/3 cups sugar
1 TB. vanilla extract
1 TB. milk
2 TB. cinnamon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl and using a sturdy spoon or an electric mixer, cream butter, cardamom, powdered espresso, and sugar until free of lumps. Add vanilla extract, egg, and milk. Slowly add sifted ingredients and mix well to fully incorporate. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
- Roll out chilled cookie dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a floured cookie cutter and place cookies on lined baking sheets 1 inch apart. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with cinnamon sugar and bake at for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Cool 5 minutes before removing from baking sheets.