Cardamom Crescents

Have you ever heard of cardamom? I hadn’t when I found this recipe so I thought how perfect: I can try a new cookie recipe AND learn about a new spice. Win win.

Originally from India, cardamom is a common ingredient in Scandinavian Christmas desserts.

It’s the third most expensive spice in the world, which is probably why my local grocery store didn’t carry it. Luckily the spice has such a strong taste, one only needs to use small amounts of it while cooking. Too bad I couldn’t find any small bottles. Someone should warn my family that they will be eating cardamom everything when they come to visit next week - I’ve got to make the most of it now that I brought it home!

If you would rather not commit to a giant bottle of cardamom (totally understandable), you can substitute equal parts cloves and cinnamon or equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon.

Having never tasted cardamom, I wasn’t sure what to expect but after taking a big whiff of the cookies, one of my taste testers commented that while she wasn’t sure what cardamom was, these cookies smelled like Christmas. That’s good enough for me.

I should also point out that while these cookies are supposed to be crescents, many of mine turned out looking like horseshoes. I’ll need to work on mastering shapes once this cookie challenge is done.

Ingredients (adapted from a recipe from Epicurious)

  • 2 ½ Cups (313g) all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup (63g)  powdered sugar, plus 1 cup for coating
  • 1 Cup pecans
  • 8 Tablespoons (2 sticks) of butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Recipe

  • Place racks in top and bottom third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats and set aside
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, cinnamon and salt
  • In a food processor, pulse together ½ cup powdered sugar and pecans to form a coarse meal
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and vanilla
  • Beat in pecan mixture until just combined
  • Gently beat in the rest of the dry ingredients until just combined - dough will still be crumbly
  • using a clean dry surface covered in flour, knead dough into a ball (about four turns, don’t knead for more than a few minutes)
  • Roll a tablespoon-sized ball of dough into a log and bend it to form a crescent
  • Gently pinch the ends and place on baking sheet
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, changing the baking sheets midway through
  • Place remaining cup of powdered sugar in a wide bowl
  • Let cookies cool for a few minutes before rolling in icing sugar and placing on cooling rack
  • Once cookies are cool, roll again in icing sugar for maximum coating
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