If you're looking to bake something full winter spices, this is the place to start! These chewy Orange Cardamom Cookies remind me of those chewy spice cookies we all love around the holidays. However, the orange zest makes them something unique and fresh.
While we all love the spices of winter and fall (think: chai spices and warm winter mulling spices for red wine), I think they become even more vibrant with orange. The acidity of the orange zest enhances the warmth in the spices and balances them out.
This is why I make my Orange Spice Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. These cookies are very similar to a chewy molasses cookie, but with even more spices. You will love their soft, chewy texture, similar to a bakery-style ginger cookie!
How to Make Orange Cardamom Cookies
If you're a cardamom fan, you have probably made my Chewy Chai Bars. Cardamom is the soft, flowery warmth you know in a good chai latte. But here, we're letting it shine alone. There are no other spices in these cookies besides cardamom! Most commonly, cinnamon and ginger find their way in a spice cookie, and that's great, but today, the cardamom shines brightly.
We're using molasses in these cookies to make them extra soft and chewy. Do not worry--the edges still crisp in the oven to make a cookie with the perfect balance of chewiness and crispiness. If you like my Gingersnaps, make these cookies next!
These cookies are thin, crispy and chewy at the same time. They stack nicely for delivery, too!
- Butter. We need 12 tablespoons (which is ¾ cup of butter) that is unsalted and has been softened to room temperature. The best way to soften butter is to open the wrapper, slice it into 8 pieces, and let the pieces lay out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. The butter is ready to bake when you can press a finger into it and make an indention, but it won't be so overly soft that you finger glides all the way through.
- Brown Sugar. Light or dark brown sugar both work here, but I recommend light since we're also adding molasses. Brown sugar is just granulated sugar with some molasses already in it! It makes for much softer cookies, just like in my brown sugar chocolate chip cookies.
- Orange Zest. Use a microplane to grate the zest from two navel oranges, creating 2 tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest.
- Egg. These orange cardamom cookies use one whole large egg.
- Molasses. Please, never bake with blackstrap molasses. Always use the regular molasses that is meant for baking, not the healthy stuff. The blackstrap molasses has a savor meat-like flavor, just in case I haven't convinced you.
- Vanilla Extract.
- Flour. We need 2 ¼ cups of flour for this recipe. This recipe makes almost 2 dozen cookies.
- Baking Soda. Yes, two teaspoons is the correct amount of baking soda for this recipe. We need a lot of acidity to react with the molasses and create large, chewy cookies that spread in the oven.
- Cardamom. Make sure your jar of cardamom is fresh. We need 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom. You can absolutely make your own by cracking open cardamom pods, placing the small, sticky black seeds in a mortar and pestle and grinding it until a powder forms. You need to crack open about 20 cardamom pods to crush the seeds into 2 teaspoons of freshly ground cardamom. Please note that I just bought my cardamom powder pre-ground from a place that I know has a high turn-over rate for their spices.
- Sugar. We need a small amount of granulated sugar for rolling the cookies in before baking. This gives a sparkly, crispy bite to the cookies. There is no actual granulated sugar in the cookie dough, however.
These orange cardamom cookies require a 2 hour chill time in the fridge to firm up. Read the recipe all the way through and plan accordingly.
In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy, at least 2 minutes.
Next, add the brown sugar and fresh orange zest. Beat to combine.
Add the egg, molasses and vanilla, and beat again just to combine.
Finally, sprinkle the flour, baking soda, salt and ground cardamom on top of the dough. Use the mixer to beat just until it's combined and no streaks of flour remain. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit, and scoop out a large, 2 tablespoon-sized piece of dough. Roll it into a ball, and then roll it again in granulated sugar.
Place the orange cardamom cookies on a lined baking sheet, and bake for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are set. If only you could smell these after baking!
Storage/ Make-Ahead Guidelines for Orange Cardamom Cookies:
You can make the dough for these orange cardamom cookies ahead of time and freeze it in scoops. If you place it in an airtight freezer bag, they will freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen, adding a few extra minute to the bake time. You can also freeze already-baked cookies. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Since this recipe requires a 2 hour chill time, I will mention that you can leave them for up to 2 days in the fridge before baking. Bring the dough out to room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften slightly before scooping and baking as usual.
Orange Cardamom Cookies
Chewy orange cardamom cookies with molasses and fresh orange zest.
- ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup molasses*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the brown sugar and orange zest, just to combined.
- Beat in the egg, scraping the bowl. Beat in the molasses and vanilla.
- Carefully, sprinkle the flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and cardamom evenly over the surface of the dough, and then beat just to combine.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours to firm it up.
- Then, preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out large (about 2 tablespoon-size chunks) of dough, and roll lightly in your hand to form a ball.
- Roll each cookie in the granulated sugar, and then place evenly spaced apart on the prepared baking sheet. You will only be able to fit 12 cookies on a sheet, just refrigerate the remaining dough and repeat the process until all of the dough is used up. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or just until the edges set.
*Do not use blackstrap molasses. Use regular molasses meant for baking. And yes, 2 teaspoons is the correct amount of baking soda for this recipe.
Storage: You can refrigerate the dough from 2 hours to 2 days. If kept cold longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature to soften before scooping and baking.
Make-Ahead: You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months before baking.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 182mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
Is there any way I could get these into mold shaped ones? Love the flavor but need it for a kids party.
Just delicious. I may have used too much zest, but I loved this recipe. All useful information. Easy to make and a perfect batch size for two people.
Made these cookies today and they are officially my new favorite Christmas cookie! The flavor is perfection. Thank you for such a lovely recipe!
How long do we bake this for at 350°F? Many thanks. I made a batch and I'll just keep an eye on them.
I made these and they were a huge hit with my family! The smell of them coming out of the oven was absolutely amazing; one of my favorite cookies that I made this Christmas season (along with your southern tea cakes)!
Lisa Hearne Lewis says
These were so delicious. Soft chewy and just enough orange. I also added fresh orange juice because I didn't want to waste the oranges that I used the zest. These are also very addictive.
We had a fresh jar of ground cardamom and thought this recipe was a fantastic pair! I messed up and added the sugar into the dough instead of rolling the balls in it, but I rolled them in more and they just came out extra sweet. We dusted extra cardamom on top of them while warm and *wow!!* we loved it. Next time I'll add more of each flavor (maybe make a frosting), and add walnuts or pecans. Five stars, we'll definitely enjoy these again.
Love this recipe.