SpicedCookies3

I am about to say something that many of you will consider blasphemous: I don’t love chocolate.

There’s nothing wrong with chocolate. I like it fine, but it’s just not a flavor that gets me excited. I’ll eat (and enjoy) the occasional chocolate chip cookie or square of dark chocolate, but I can’t make it through a whole brownie. My sister will likely faint when I say this, but my least favorite dessert in the world is flourless chocolate cake. And don’t even get me started on fudge. Yuck!

To be fair, I’m not much of a sweets person. I prefer my “naughty” calories in an extra scoop of pasta, another glass of wine, or a hunk of good cheese. But if I am going in for something sweet, my first choice will always be something spiced. I’d rather eat an oatmeal raisin cookie perfumed with cinnamon, a slice of pumpkin bread, or a few gingersnaps than a decadent chocolate number.

I bake with chocolate because other people love it. And I love other people and making them happy. When I bake just for me, however, these cookies are my go-to. Simple, easy, loaded with warm spices. Plus, they keep for a week or two in a Ziploc bag, so I can eat one when I feel like it without a sugar overload (if my husband doesn’t get to them first!).

These cookies are great on their own, but they’re also spectacular paired this banana-pistachio ice cream for an exotic yet familiar dessert that will excite even the staunchest of chocolate supporters.


Cardamom Spice Cookies

Make sure you use very soft—not melted!—butter. If you can, leave it on the counter for a few hours or overnight. If you have to quickie-soften your butter in the microwave and melt some in the process, you may need to add a little more flour to make the dough hang together. Just add enough flour that the dough will hold a very soft ball.

Make 20 to 24 cookies.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom, more for sprinkling
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons very soft butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg

Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk oil, butter, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in molasses, then egg.  Stir in dry ingredients.

Form dough into 2-tablespoon portions and set cookies about 2 ½ inches apart on a silpat- or parchment-lined 18- by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet. (Figure about 8 cookies per sheet). Bake until puffed slightly, golden brown around the edges, and starting to crackle about 10 minutes if baking 1 sheet and about 12 minutes for 2 sheets. Don’t over bake! (If you’re baking 2 sheets at a time, switch positions after 7 or 8 minutes.)

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle a little ground cardamom on top of each one. Allow cookies to cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cooled cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a week.