October 30, 2011, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Cooking | Tags: , , , , ,

For some reason fall opens the door to spices. Perhaps it’s because availability shifts from fresh seasonal herbs like basil and thyme to seasonings that don’t need to be fresh off the plant to taste. Or perhaps it’s because fall veggies and sqaush taste better with cozy seasonings like cinnamon, cloves and allspice. And cardamom, I’ve discovered.

With the number of chai lattes I’ve had over the years, apparently I’ve been consuming cardamom-spiced treats for a while. What I just discovered was the tastiness of the spice all on it’s own, or in combination with ingredients besides other spices. It’s hard for me to describe the flavor, but once you taste or smell it, you’ll instantly know it’s far more unique that the other spices it’s traditionally mixed with. It’s a part of the ginger family, and you can taste a bit of that in the flavor, but it’s more smokey than zesty, has a bit of sweetness too, and if you take a whiff you’ll catch an earthy peppery fragrance.

So why the fuss with cardamom? Several years back I had a scone at The Hub, a small coffeehouse in Reno, that had chocolate chips and cardamom in it. It was delicious, and planted the thought of cardamom in my head (for about a day). I haven’t really thought about it since until I decided to try making homemade chai tea which requires, of course, cardamom. The recipe called for cardamom pods which aren’t available in Kanab or nearby St. George, so I went ahead and got the ground version because I’m guessing the flavor is still the same. But now what to do with an entire jar of cardamom when I only needed a few teaspoons? Google “cardamom cookie” of course.

Through my search I learned that cardamom goes well with almonds, so I switched up my search terms and found this recipe for Maple Almond Butter Cookies. A few adjustments based on the ingredients on hand in the pantry, and here’s my final recipe:

Heat Oven to 350 F

Mix: 1/2 cup all-natural unsweetened almond butter, 1/2 cup all-natural maple syrup, 3 Tbsp. canola oil and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Add in: 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup almond meal, 1/2 tsp. cardamom, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, dash salt, 1/4 cup sliced almonds.

Mix till all dry ingredients are incorporated. Let sit while oven heats. Roll into balls then flatten. Bake 9 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

Fresh out of the oven they’re delicious, and I’m thinking I’ll be making these for the holidays. The real test will be, how do they complement that homemade chai tea?

Almond, Cardamom and Maple Cookies

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