Cardamom was the name of the game in my kitchen this winter. I haven't cooked much with it in the past but I made up for lost time with Swedish meatballs, cakes and cookies. Orange and cardamom are the culinary version of Laverne and Shirley or Starsky and Hutch -- totally different flavors but perfectly matched. Cardamom requires a light hand, too much and it goes from lyrical to over-powering....which in the case of these cookies, is not a good thing.
I found some vanilla beans in my cupboard that were getting a little long in the tooth and needed a purpose before they bit the dust. Vanilla sugar is about as simple as it gets: find a Mason jar, put in 4 or 5 vanilla beans and fill the jar with raw sugar. I let it sit for about 2 weeks and I add fresh sugar (give the jar a couple shakes to mix the old and new sugar) every time I use it. It adds a nice layer of flavor to cookies, cakes and pies.
Orange Cardamom Cookies (adapted from Food 52)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 sticks ( 1 cup) butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 yolk of large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest of one large orange
Raw vanilla sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir the butter and sugar together till just combined, about 30 seconds. Add the egg and egg yolk; stir to combine. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest, stir again. Gently add in the dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring just until they are combined, about 30-45 seconds.
Scoop the dough with a tablespoon and roll into balls. Roll the cookie balls in the vanilla sugar. Place evenly on parchment lined cookie sheets and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. .
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies are brown on edges and still soft in the center.
Place cookie sheet(s) on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove cookies with spatula and place them on wire racks to cool completely.