I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly I love baking! I have my theories as to why, but we’ll get to that in minute. First: let’s talk cookies! I’ve learned: baking is actual quite simple if you can get to know the basic staple recipes. From there, you can add, subtract and experiment with different ingredients, flavors and spices. I’m all in on the standard holiday flavors like peppermint mocha, gingerbread, eggnog and chocolate, but I’m also a sucker for anything with spices and citrus. So this weekend I gave basic snickerdoodles a holiday upgrade with a jolt of orange and cardamom.
Say what? Orange and cardamom? Yes, my friend. You heard that right! By adding two simple ingredients you can take your snickerdoodles to the next level. Without changing any regular snickerdoodle steps, I added a full orange worth of zest to the wet ingredients and a full tsp of ground cardamom to the dry mix. I also added cardamom to the standard cinnamon and sugar coating mixture for the cookies. The result: a bright and perfectly spiced cookie.
a few notes on ingredients:
For this recipe, I used regular AP flour, but you can make them gluten free by using a 1:1 gluten free baking flour. You could also make up your own mixture of almond flour and arrowroot — this is my go to gluten free baking combo.
While I love a great baked good, I actually don’t have the biggest sweet tooth. Snickerdoodles are often a rather sweet cookie thanks in part to their sugar and spice coating, thus I used slightly less sugar than usual in the actual batter since they would also be getting a dusting of sugar.
Alright, so are you ready to add a punch of citrus to your holiday cookie plate? I thought so. See the recipe below and get baking, friend! Wishing you the coziest holiday season!
some thoughts on “healthy baking”
as I said above, I’ve got a theory as to why I’m enjoying baking a bit more this year. Interestingly enough, I think the main reason is that I feel less of the need to adapt every single baked good into a “healthier” version. While I totally appreciate and enjoy gluten-free, vegan and lower sugar baked goods, I’ve also realized there is absolutely nothing wrong with using good/high quality “normal” baking ingredients.
I think baked goods tend to be an area where food fears can still hide out in safety even when it feels like food freedom is being achieved in daily food choices. I certainly think this was true for myself, and I found comfort in conditional food rules. While I found myself okay with regular pasta, I was still feeling the need to only make gluten-free baked goods — to make them “healthier.” But really, what’s the difference between the flour in a cookie or the flour in pasta/bread?
Instead of stressing myself out on the “healthification” of all baked goods, I’ve refocused my energy on buying high quality flour, butter, eggs and sugar. I look to purchase wholesome ingredients that were made sustainably and ethically — from companies that function and produce responsibly.
I’m by no means knocking the idea of making gluten free or lower sugar baked goods — I still love making/eating those, too, and for some, it’s a necessity. But I’m also saying that there is nothing wrong or unhealthy about “normal” baking. And if anything, it feels even healthier to stand up to old hidden food rules.
Orange Cardamom Snickerdoodles
an upgraded version of the beloved cinnamon sugar snickerdoodle.
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted organic butter room temperature, or softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated raw cane sugar + 1 tbsp for dusting mixture
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- orange zest of 1 full orange
- 1 1/3 cups organic all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- dash sea salt
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
spiced sugar dusting mixture
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
First make your dusting mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom and 2 tbsp raw sugar and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, sea salt, cardamom and cinnamon. Mix together with a whisk and set aside.
In a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and cane sugar on high speed.
Add the vanilla and egg, and beat on medium speed until its fully incorporated.
Zest a full orange into the batter and mix in.
Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet, and continue mixing until a dough forms.
Scoop the dough into tbsp+ sized scoops and roll into balls and arrange them evenly onto a non-stick baking sheet (or lined with parchment paper).
Lightly stamp the cookies down with your fingers (but do not flatten them). Sprinkle the cookies with a healthy dusting of the sugar and spice dusting mixture.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and try to (carefully) remove from baking sheet right away to a cooling rack so they do not continue to bake/dry out.