The title of this post is a misrepresentation: the recipe I’m about to share does not advertise the fact that it contains cardamom. In fact, the recipe–from my new favorite baking book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking–is titled “Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies,” a title that doesn’t mention cardamom at all.
But cardamom was what caught my eye as I decided to make these cookies for dessert last week at 11 PM; so much so, that I didn’t even stop when I realized I didn’t have nuts or dried cherries. Cardamom would carry the day and carry the day it did.
What’s so special about cardamom?
For me, the immediate association is chai tea. The best chai tea of my life was served at The Coffee Table in Silver Lake, just outside of L.A. I don’t know if the chai tea there is still as good (I hope it is) but I remember that what I loved about it wasn’t something I could readily identify. Only later, when I bought cardamom pods at an Indian grocery in the East Village, did the mystery solve itself: one sniff gave it all away. It was cardamom that I loved.
So how could I ignore an oatmeal cookie recipe that called for cardamom? Albeit: a teensy amount of cardamom (1/4 tsp ground cardamom.) So teensy, that if I made these again I’d up it to 1/2 a tsp or maybe even more. That’s how cardamom crazy I am. I need to be cardamom committed.
These cookies are best hot out of the oven, but they taste pretty good the next day too. You can even dunk them in some chai tea; but then you might enter a cardamom coma.
Baked Oatmeal Cookies with Cardamom (aka: Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies)
from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
[Yields 36 cookies; I cut the recipe in half and it made 11 large cookies.]
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (use more! use more! you know you want to)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup (8 ounces) dried cherries
1/2 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted walnuts
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, add the oats, and beat until just combined. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the cherries and walnuts.
Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for 6 hours. [Note: I skipped this step and you can too; though this'll allow the flour to absorb more liquid and make the cookies that much more flavorful.]
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. [Note: I never do this. Instead, I always use a large ice cream scoop and scoop out perfectly shaped big fat cookies. Look.]
[I do, however, follow this next step, only I wet my hand first. Don't be afraid of getting your cookies wet; it'll evaporate instantly, and they won't stick to your hand.]
With the palm of your hand, gently press each cookie down so it forms a tall disk shape. Do not press too hard and do not press it flat. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the cookies just begin to brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely [I just slide the whole sheet of parchment, with the cookies, on to a cooling rack.] The cookies can be stored, in an air-tight container, for up to 3 days.