Saturday, January 09, 2010

Browned Butter Cardamom Cookies...

There are a couple recipes that we made over the holidays that we just didn't get a chance to share and before I completely forget about them, I figured I better get on the ball! Today we'll get to one of the cookies we made, these dainty Browned Butter Cardamom Cookies.

Don't be scared of the "browned butter" part if you've never had the chance to do that before - it's very simple and the development of flavor is definitely worth it. Basically all you are doing is melting butter, then leaving it over the heat long enough to toast the delicate milk solids, turning the butter a rich hazelnut color. You can take it too far though, making the results a tad bitter -you'll know it's ready when the color of the butter begins to darken, the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan and become toasty specks and you smell an intensely nutty aroma.

Once you've gotten the butter taken care of, it needs to cool down before we mix in the rest of the ingredients - to speed up the process, we transferred the liquid gold to another container and stashed it in the refrigerator for a half hour. It doesn't need to solidify, but just come down to room temperature first. Granulated sugar, a single sunny egg yolk, a hearty splash of aromatic vanilla and the ingredient that makes these cookies a little exotic, cardamom, were beaten into the butter to get the cookie dough started.

When the flour was added in to complete the mix, the dough was rolled into small balls and baked just until the edges of the cookies began to turn a light golden. You'll want to take them off the baking sheet as soon as possible and let them cool for just a couple minutes before you take them through a ride in a snowstorm. Well, not really, but the warm cookies are tossed around in a bowl of confectioners' sugar - doing this before they have cooled down ensures they get an ample sweet coating. You will need to work gingerly here as the cookies are fairly delicate at this point. The warmth will allow the cookies to absorb most of the coating, which means they need to go for round two in the sugar once they have completely cooled to give them that classic just-dusted appearance.

To reinforce the cardamom, we did combine the confectioners' sugar with a big pinch of the spice, but if you're unsure you want an in-your-face cardamom experience, use the lower amount called for in the dough and drop the addition in the coating. The cookies are firm, crisp and a little crumbly, but once they hit your tongue, they begin to melt in your mouth, leaving behind a sweet, nutty flavor that ripples with the unique essence from the cardamom. I know the amount called for doesn't look like a lot, but don't go dumping it in without measuring like you would with, say cinnamon - the spice is pretty powerful and pungent, especially when freshly ground.


  1. mm, these look delicious. I love cardamom. Definitely will try these soon.

  2. These look like a nice variation on Russian Tea cookies or Mexican Wedding cookies. Thanks for posting!

  3. Can't wait to try these! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. I made a lot of the Mexican Wedding Cookies during the holidays, and thought they could use a little punch. Your cardamon inclusion might be just the kick these melt in your mouth morsels need. Thanks for posting this.

  5. DC - :-)

    Kristin - Yup, same thing went through my mind when we made them! Just minus the nuts.

    Bayou - Enjoy!

    Mark - Let us know if the cardamom makes a difference if any of the recipes!