The other day Jared sent me a New York Times article about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. The title of the article is “Healthy Eating on Just $300 a Day,” and talks about how, because of oft exotic dishes and a call to use the best of the best ingredients at every turn, following the diet Paltrow outlines in the book would cost an estimated $300 a day. A day. For you numbers fans out there, that’s about $9,000 a month, more than $109,000 a year. I’d say that’s some good eatin’.
Don’t let the $300-a-day aspect deter you from the cookbook (economically minded folks can always find substitutes for quail eggs and the like, right?); there are still lots of fresh, yummy-looking recipes to be tried, even if they’re slightly altered to suit more modest budgets. More than anything, though, the article made me wonder if I could even spend that much on groceries if I tried. Then later that same day, I made a trip to the store to pick up a few ingredients for this cookie recipe, and I found my answer in the checkout line: cardamom. To feel fancy and frivolous, to spend upward of hundreds of dollars a day, I must put cardamom in everything.
So yes, cardamom is a pricy little spice if you buy a good batch of the ground stuff. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. And if you’re new to the flavor like us, baked goods are a great place to start. I will always and forever be a fan of cinnamon — and lots of it — but adding cardamom to a rather simple snickerdoodle recipe transforms the flavor in such a special, hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it kind of way.
And the cardamom isn’t overpowering (I was afraid it would be and had planned to roll the cookies in plain sugar because of it but ended up going full-on cardamom because it was so delicious), and even the scent, which is super florally straight from the container, mellows into a soft, subtle sweetness as the cookies bake. They’re yummy and special, and I dare say Ms. Paltrow might even enjoy them. You know, if they didn’t have gluten or butter or eggs. Ah, well. We can’t all be movie stars.
Cardamom and Currant Snickerdoodles
Adapted slightly from fiveandspice at Food52
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• ½ cup packed brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ¾ cup dried currants
For cookie coating:
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon cardamom
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, 1 teaspoon cardamom, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Fold in the currants.
Chill the dough for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. In the meantime, stir together the remaining sugar and cardamom in a small bowl for the cookie coating.
Once the dough is chilled, roll it into 1-inch balls (I used a 1-ounce cookie scoop), roll the balls around in the cardamom/sugar coating, and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the cookies are golden and cracked on the top but still a bit soft in the center. Take them off of the cookie sheet as soon as you’re able, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 40 2-inch cookies.
What’s your favorite unexpected flavor to add to recipes? Any pricy ingredients that you use on occasion because they’re so worth the splurge? Do tell!