This recipe for cardamom cookies will blow you away! Imagine a chewy ginger molasses cookie except cardamom, orange, espresso and browned butter are the main flavor players. Get ready to sink your teeth into the most glorious chewy cardamom cookies!

brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

These cardamom cookies have got it all going for them. They’re chewy, buttery, flavor-packed and feature a crunchy, sugary coating. Plus, they’re BIG! Each cookie is bigger than the palm of your hand.

I also love that you don’t need a stand mixer and there’s no chilling the dough!

brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

Ingredients Needed for Cardamom Cookies

Unsalted butter—it’s important to use unsalted when baking so you can control how much salt is added.

Instant espresso powder can most often be found next to the other instant coffee products. Make sure you use instant espresso powder, not coffee. It usually comes in a small glass jar with a green lid. 

Ground cardamom, for the most flavor and oomph, purchase cardamom from quality sources like Burlap and Barrel or Simply Organic. You can also toast whole cardamom pods in a skillet then grind them into a fine powder.

Unbleached all-purpose flour is the flour of choice for these cookies.

Baking soda and baking powder are both important. Baking soda increases browning and encourages spreading while baking powder adds lift. 

Light brown sugar keeps the cookies moist and chewy and adds a much deeper flavor than white sugar.

Grated orange zest adds brightness to balance out the heavier flavors. Plus, “orange cardamom cookies” has a nice ring to it (they pair really well together).

Egg and an egg yolk are both used in these cookies. Yolks are higher in fat and protein and lower in moisture than egg whites. So removing the egg white means the cookies will stay moist and not crispy.

Pure vanilla extract adds even more flavor. I prefer to use pure extracts in baking, but if you have imitation that will work fine.

Turbinado, demerara or white cane sugar can be used for coating the dough balls. I find turbinado works best (raw cane sugar) because of its large granules.  

brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

Tips

  • Measuring flour: if you aren’t baking by weight, make sure you fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk before spooning it into your measuring cup and sweeping it level with a flat edge (back of a knife). Scooping the measuring cup through flour will result in too much flour and make for a drier cookie.
  • Storing Cookies: these chewy cardamom cookies should be stored in an airtight container or resealable zipper-lock bag. They’re best within the first 2 days of baking. After 2 days I recommend placing a slice of sandwich bread in the bag or container to maintain moisture and chewiness. 
  • To freeze the cookies: stack the cookies, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a zipper-lock bag; freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Don’t over bake: Bake cookies until the edges are just beginning to set and the centers still look undercooked. The dough should still look raw between the cracks. 

How We Measure Flour

First and foremost, if you’re an avid baker, we highly recommend purchasing a food scale. Measuring by weight instead of cup measurement it always more accurate and is a foolproof way to get the same results every time.

In the case that you do not have a food scale, it’s imperative to know how the recipe developer measures flour—which isn’t always easy to know. Some people simply scoop the cup through the flour and sweep to level it off. Others spoon and sweep. In the test kitchen we fluff, spoon and sweep. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
  2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
  3. Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.

The Best Chewy Cardamom Cookies

Print Recipe
4.72 from 14 votes
Prep Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Yield 13 cookies (bakers doz)
Category Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant

Description

The ultimate chewy, spice cookie featuring a crunchy sugary coating.

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter (1 ¾ sticks)
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 ¼ cups (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ⅔ cups (356g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt + more for rolling
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup turbinado, demerara sugar or white sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  • Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 2–3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl with remaining 4 tablespoons butter, instant espresso and cardamom. Stir to combine and melt butter; set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350ºF (176ºC). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Add brown sugar, orange zest, and salt to bowl with cooled butter; whisk until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds.
    brown sugar and orange zest in a bowl with browned butter
  • Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and whisk until fully incorporated and pale in color, about 1 minute.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Give dough a final stir with rubber spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  • In a shallow bowl or plate combine turbinado and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Using ¼ cup measure (#16 scoop, 2-ounce scoop, or 65-70 grams per ball), scoop dough and roll into balls. Working in batches, toss dough balls in turbinado sugar mixture and roll to coat; transfer 5 dough balls to prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2–3 inches apart.
  • Bake, one sheet at a time, until cookies are still puffy and edges have just begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 11–12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.
  • Repeat rolling, coating and baking with remaining cookie dough.
  • Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Notes

How to Measure Flour
  1. Fluff the flour with a spoon or whisk. This aerates the flour and lightens it up.
  2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour from the storage bin to the measuring cup.
  3. Sweep a flat edge, such as the back of a knife, along the top of the measuring cup to level the flour.
Less-sweet cookie: don’t love super sweet cookies? Skip rolling the dough balls in the turbinado sugar and bake as directed. The result will be a super chewy cookie without any crunchy coating!
Orange Cardamom Cookies: skip rolling the dough balls in turbinado sugar and instead drizzle the baked cookies with a glaze. For the glaze, whisk together confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), orange juice and a pinch of salt.
Storing Cookies: these chewy cardamom cookies should be stored in an airtight container or resealable zipper-lock bag. They’re best within the first 2 days of baking. After 2 days I recommend placing a slice of sandwich bread in the bag or container to maintain moisture and chewiness.
To freeze the cookies: stack the cookies, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to a zipper-lock bag; freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 194mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 30g
Keywords cardamom cookie recipe, cardamom cookies, orange cardamom cookies
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
brown chewy-looking cookies stacked on a wire rack on a blue table

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Irresistible cookies. Perfect flavor combinations and will be a regular in my recipe box. On a side note the recipes when printed are chopped up with ads and half pages. To print this recipe it would require 22 pages and a few weeks ago the format didn’t do this. If fixable would really appreciate, thanks.

    1. Hi Karen! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the cookies (I just made another batch yesterday). I will look in to fixing the print issue—apologies for that. There is an option to remove the images, recipe notes and nutrition. Once you hit “print” a new page will load. At the top of that page click “print options” then unclick the recipe card features you do not want to include in the printed version.

  2. Made these for a cookie bake-off competition for a wedding weekend, and they shared the top prize. Everyone loved them!
    * My test batch was WAY too salty. I cut salt in half, and was careful when rolling them to not pick up too much salt. The turbinado sugar and kosher salt don’t really mix well.
    * Added cinnamon because I love cinnamon and it goes well with cardamom.
    * A full 1/4 cup scoop makes 3.5″ cookies. I used a bit less to get 3″ cookies.
    * Mine came out thicker than they look in the pictures here. Not sure if there’s a trick to make them thinner, but they were fine thicker. Nice balance of crunchy from the sugar coating and chewy from the inside.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of our GO-TO Christmas Cookie recipes now. We all LOVE cardamom, it is the perfect flavor in this cookie.

  4. Question: is the espresso powder supposed to clump up when added to the browned butter? I’ve attempted this part of the recipe now twice, and as soon as the not browned butter amount hits the hot browned butter, the espresso powder clumps up into a solid clump that will not dissolve. I’m wondering if the recipe amount is incorrect and it’s only supposed to be 2 TEASPOONS of instant espresso powder? Or, am I just doing something wrong? I am an experienced baker, so this is baffling to me.

    1. Hey Melissa, thanks for the comment. I took a look at the recipe and all of my testing notes and 2 tablespoons is the correct amount. Is the espresso powder loose in the jar or pretty compact? Medaglia D’Oro is our preferred brand in the test kitchen, but any instant espresso powder should work. I do find it works better when it’s fresh and not clumpy out of the jar.
      This is baffling me as well—I’ve never had this happen. Next time I recommend just adding the espresso powder to the flour mixture. I usually like to bloom it a bit (which that hot browned butter is doing) but it’s not worth it if it’s clumping! I’m so sorry about this, it should not be happening. Thinking it through, you could add the espresso powder and cardamom to the skillet with the hot butter right before you remove it from heat. But I worry the cold butter is the reason for clumping. Is the un-browned butter cold from the fridge? Maybe if it’s soft / room temp it won’t seize the espresso powder.

      I hope some of these tips help! Feel free to decrease the espresso powder too if you think that will help—2 teaspoons will still add a nice oomph!

      1. Hi! Thank you for your response. The espresso powder is fresh – I bought it just over the summer for a tiramisu. It’s loose in the jar. The brand is Ferrara “Instant Espresso Coffee.” And the “cold” butter is room temp. I may just try adding it to the flour mixture. T

        1. I had the same problem – really wish I’d seen this comment before trying the recipe 🙁 I bake a lot and use Nestle Gold Espresso whenever a recipe calls for instant espresso powder and have never had issues before, but I do notice now that the label actually says instant coffee in fine print. Maybe that was part of the issue for me? I ended up starting over after that step and adding the espresso powder in with the flour instead which worked great.

          I didn’t want to waste the ingredients from the first attempt so I strained the clumps out of the butter mixture and now have a little brick of cardamom/espresso-infused brown butter saved in the fridge — hoping to use it up somehow if anyone has ideas!

          Anyway, I’m glad I gave the recipe another shot with the adjusted steps because WOW the flavour combination of these cookies is AMAZING!!!

          The kosher salt available to me isn’t great for baking unfortunately, so I ended up using 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt in the dough. I tasted the mixture before rolling and liked it as is so I just skipped the salt in the coating.

          The espresso experience was a major bummer but if avoided, I highly recommend this recipe! So delicious!

          1. Hi Ruth,

            Thanks for letting me know you also had trouble with the espresso powder. This is such a baffling thing that has now happened for a few readers. Great idea to strain the butter and keep marching forward! I’m glad you didn’t have to waste all those flavorful ingredients. Thanks again for letting me know, I will make edits to the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    Just made these and my wife said they were a winner. Just chewy enough with a crunch. Also, the orange was a nice flavor profile addition.
    The espresso powder also clumped a bit on me too, but I noticed it blended right on in when the eggs were added.
    I rolled them in sanding sugar with good results.
    Thanks for a good recipe.

    1. Hi Hugh,

      I’m happy to hear your wife thinks these are a winner! And thanks for letting me know about the clumping—I’ve now heard from a few other readers experiencing the same issue. So bizarre. But I’m glad it mixed right in when the eggs were added! Thanks for giving these a try and leaving a comment—your notes are so helpful for other readers.