The holidays seem to always be the best testing ground for new recipes as well as new takes on the old ones. With two birthdays, three holidays, and an anniversary to celebrate between late November and the beginning of January, it seems like we are cooking and baking constantly. Through all the successes (and a few failures) we usually end up with a couple of new recipes to use when the cycle continues the following years. One of my favorites from this past year were these crisp cardamom-pistachio cookies that came about simply from seeing what we had in the pantry.
I’ve never been much of a chocolate chip cookie fan. I’ll eat them because, well, they’re cookies. But, I figure if I’m going to eat way too many of something made mostly with loads of butter and sugar, I want to make it count. The new year was coming, and I’ve already eaten way more of everything than I should, the time to act was now (or then, rather) before any ideas on resolutions started to form. So I scratched the chocolate chips from the recipe I was about to use and took a peek into the pantry to see what else I could add instead.
Luckily, I still had plenty of cherries leftover from the stuffing I made at Thanksgiving. I also had several cups of pistachio. Things were coming together. Finally, I wanted to add a nice spiced element since it was that time of year and cardamom fits so well with pistachios. With the addition of a little orange zest to pump up the cherry flavor, I was in business.
The other thing I wanted was a crisp final product. I’ve never been a huge fan of soft, chewy cookies. I like a good snap to the bite and a texture that soaks up milk without falling apart. I was able to achieve this by slicing them a bit thinner and baking a couple of minutes longer. As the note suggests in the below recipe, should you want a softer version, just slice them at around a 1/2 inch. You can even keep the 18 minute bake time too. The middle will stay a bit soft while you still have the hold from a firmer, crispier edge.
(We adding a little icing to a few batches. Some people loved them, others felt they were too sweet.)
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange zest
½ cup pistachio, rough chopped
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon until combined.
Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until pale and creamy, approx 2 minutes.
Add sugars to butter and mix for another 2 minutes at medium speed.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest mix allowing to combine. Follow by adding the flour mix, and then finally the pistachios and cherries until all is evenly mixed, approx 2-3 minutes. You may need to scrape down the side and paddle attachment once or twice during this process.
Roll the dough into a 2 ½ inch thick log and wrap in parchment and place in the freezer for 1 hour. You can also place in the refrigerator overnight should you want to bake the cookies the next day.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F with rack placed in the middle.
Once they are firm from the freezer (or fridge), slice the log into 1/4 thick rounds and place approximately 8 rounds on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to rest on cooling rack for about 10 minutes.
(Notes: We’ve made this recipe with a full teaspoon of cardamom as well and they were Christmas part crowd pleaser. The additional amount packs a bit more punch obviously. Depends how much you like cardamom.
*We’ve also made them in ½ inch slices. You get half the cookies and their texture is similar to a traditional chocolate chip cookie with a chewy middle and crisp edge.)