Snickerdoodles are an all-American cookie, a childhood favorite that inspired Joe. “My mom had made them with shortening, white sugar and cinnamon, and I loved them, but the first time I tried them with this particular combination, I was hooked,” he writes on his blog at joeyonan.com. “Cardamom has that haunting, mysterious flavor that makes it one of my favorite spices, and using it brought these squarely into adulthood.”
From Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One by Joe Yonan.
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
1. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of the cardamom, and the salt in a large bowl.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and beat until very light and fluffy, 2 or 3 minutes, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add about one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture; beat on low speed until fully incorporated. Repeat two more times, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Cover bowl and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F, positioning the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
5. Stir together the sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cardamom in a medium bowl. Use a #100 disher (a ¾-tablespoon scoop) or a tablespoon to scoop small balls of dough, a few at a time, into the sugar-cardamom mixture, then roll the pieces to coat them and lightly roll them into balls between your palms, pressing the sugar mixture into the dough. Arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on each baking sheet.
6. Bake two sheets at a time for 5 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are crackled and the edges are just barely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Use a strainer to sift any extra cardamom-sugar mixture onto the cookies (this will keep separate any clumps of dough that might be left in the sugar). Serve, or store in airtight containers; may be frozen.
Makes about 7 dozen cookies
Photograph by Dorie Greenspan