Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookies

Browsing through December’s Bon Appetite magaine, I saw a cookie recipe I just had to try. I’m always on the hunt for cookie recipes that can be given a healthy makeover, yet still be palatable to friends and coworkers. I love the earth and spice and pungency of cardamom — so was won over by their Cardamom-Orange Spice Cookies.

Below is the original recipe, to which I made a few adjustments.  I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour, reduced the sugar by 1/3 c, and doubled the amount of orange zest. The result: the most delicious dough I’ve ever tasted. As many of you know, I hate rolling out dough, so tend to shy away from sut out cookies. To make this recipe fix my (lazy) needs, I rolled the dough into small balls and press down with my thumb (like a thumbprint cookies). As they baked, they smoothed out and become little round discs.

I want to fiddle around with the recipe some more to use agave nectar in lieu of sugar. I’m also jonesing for a gluten-free version, which I’ll make with Bob Red Mill gluten-free baking mix. I’ll update this post about the result of each!

Bon Appetite, December 2009

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • Raw sugar


  • Whisk flour, cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in finely grated orange peel and vanilla. Add egg; beat to blend. Add 1/3 of flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Add remaining flour in 2 additions, beating on low speed just until blended. Refrigerate until firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.
  • Divide dough in half. Form each half into ball. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm enough to roll out, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let chilled dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes.
  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured surface to generous 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using festive cookie cutters. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Gather dough scraps into ball. Flatten, cover, and freeze dough until firm enough to roll out again, about 10 minutes.
  • Bake cookies until light golden brown, about 16 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking for even cooking. Carefully slide parchment paper with cookies onto racks to cool completely. Let baking sheets cool completely, then repeat process with remaining dough, lining sheets with fresh parchment between batches. DO AHEAD Cookies can be made 3 days ahead. Store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature.

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