White Chocolate Cardamon Cookies

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I had no intention of baking cookies today. I was looking on the Food 52 website for a Spanish omelette recipe and I saw a photo of a chocolate chip cookie. Damn beautiful seductive cookie photo. I clicked on the link just to see what the bones of the recipe were. I have my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe which I adore and I am not looking to replace, but I always like to see what other people are doing. I started reading the recipe and she said up front that this basic cookie dough can be varied to incorporate other ingredients. She mentioned white chocolate and cardamon. I immediately scrapped all plans for my afternoon. These cookies demanded to be made. And I am glad that I listened because oh the texture and the layers of flavor. So, so good.

I had to go to the store to get turbinado sugar, which I never really bake with. With baking, I always adhere to the original recipe the first time I am making it. Sometimes I will switch it up later, but I always like to see what I am working with first. Also, I was intrigued by this recipe’s demand for three different sugars. What would that look like? It turns out that the three different sugars creamed with the butter resulted in a base that almost looked like a mousse. Even more so when the egg was added. It all came together very quickly. (It did reaffirm my long held love of my kitchen scale. Seriously, baking is so much easier when you are given weights to work with. Not only is the accuracy improved but you are not dirtying measuring cups.)

To be honest, I don’t know why the original baker is pairing dark chocolate chips with this dough. As a base for a standard chocolate chip cookie, it is fine but as the base for this white chocolate and cardamon combination, it is fantastic. The use of the dark brown sugar and the texture resulting from the three sugar combination balances out the often overwhelming creaminess of the white chocolate and the strong smoky cardamon flavor. I was kind of winging it when it came to the amount of cardamon, but I feel good about where I landed. I ground the seeds from eight cardamon pods and that resulted in about 1/2 teaspoon. I had never ground my own cardamon before but I always get excited when I get to break out the mortar and pestle. These seeds grind up very easily. The flavor with freshly ground seeds is so much more subtle but I often think it is not really worth the effort. I liked it here, though I imagine laziness could easily win the day and the cookies would still have a nice flavor.

The original recipe called for the dough to rest in the fridge for 24 hours. This is an excellent thing to do with cookie dough. These natural toffee flavors come out as it rests. For every day you leave it in the fridge, more layers are there. However, sometimes you cannot wait and I am happy to report that these cookies tasted just fabulous after only an hour of resting in the fridge. Caramel undertones and all that creamy white chocolate and the salty finish. Still, I only baked about 1/3 of the dough because I want to have them after the full resting period.

I thought about adding some ginger to the mix with these cookies. I decided not to with the first batch but I still think that’s a pretty good idea. Next time I make them, I will add some finely diced crystallized ginger in with the chocolate chips at the end.

White Chocolate Cardamon Cookies
(Adapted from the Ashley Rodriguez Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the Food52 website)

  • Eight cardamon pods*
  • 1 3/4 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (170 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • egg, at room temperature
  • teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ounces (170 grams) white chocolate chips**
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon’s)***

Break apart cardamon pods. Discard shells and grind seeds in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine powder. Measure out and make sure you have a scant 1/2 teaspoon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, kosher salt and cardamon.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugars and, using a paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for five minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. (Do not cut down this time. Cream for the full five minutes. When you see the finished texture, you will see why.) Add the egg and vanilla bean paste and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together and no streaks of flour remain.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips. Roll dough into a log and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 360 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto prepared sheets and sprinkle each ball with a pinch of sea salt.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets at halfway point if cookies are not baking evenly. Cookies should be lightly golden brown but still gooey in the center. Allow cookies to cool on sheets for at least 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

Cookies will keep in an air tight container for a few days. (Probably. I don’t know. Mine aren’t going to last long enough for me to really gauge this.)

******

* I highly recommend using a mortar and pestle to grind up the seeds from inside fresh cardamon pods. However, if you cannot be bothered and are using ground cardamon, you might want to reduce the amount to a 1/4 teaspoon.

** The original recipe recommended a combination of chopped chocolate bar and chips. I will have to try that sometime. In this instance, I only had white chocolate chips. (White chocolate can be a hard item to source for a reasonable price. I generally go to Whole Foods and buy their white chocolate chips as it is the best quality for a reasonable price I have found. And bargains are not something I generally associate Whole Foods with.)

*** If you don’t have the good flaky sea salt on hand, do not swap out regular sea salt. Go for kosher salt. You want those big grains of salt.

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