These Cardamom Walnut Snowballs illustrate how much I love cardamom. Love it.
I seriously considered putting a sachet of cardamom pods under my pillow at night, but then I decided that was kind of weird. Don’t tell anyone else. It’s our secret.
12 Days of Christmas Cookies
Plus is there anything better than eating a cookie absolutely coated in powdered sugar? It gets on your nose, lips and fingers, which you then have to lick clean. Obviously.
It also inevitably gets on your black pants but I will endure white powdered pants for a heavenly bite of powder sugar coated cardamom cookie.
The warm cardamom flavor pairs beautifully with the toasted walnuts and the buttery cookie. The flavors just melt in your mouth starting with the powdered sugar and ending with the warm, nutty cardamom walnut flavor.
I toasted the walnuts to enhance the flavor, because otherwise the cardamom might overpower it. Walnuts have a way of getting lost.
These snowballs have that characteristic sandy texture that inspire nostalgia in even the most hard-nosed New Yorkers. I’m not naming names but I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
These cookies are….let’s call it…cardamom forward, which is fancy chef speak for they taste like cardamom. And I LOVE it. It’s not overwhelming – you can still taste the walnuts and sugar. I asked everyone at the restaurant what they thought and they all agreed they were delightful the way they are (including said nostalgic New Yorker).
Phew. I’m not alone of the cardamom train. If you are new to the spice or you open up your jar of cardamom and think “Woah! That’s different,” cool, just back down the measurement to 1 teaspoon. We can still be friends.
2 cups finely chopped walnuts, toasted and divided
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, for coating
Preheat oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor pulse half of the walnuts until they are finely chopped; remove and set aside. Add the remaining nuts to the food processor and pulse until finely ground (no big pieces remain).
In a medium bowl combine the flour, walnuts, cardamom and salt; whisk to combine.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla until well combined. Add all the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together.
I used a tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll into balls.
Bake until the bottoms are golden and the tops are beginning to brown, 12-18 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake them or they will be intolerably dry and crumbly.
Cool the cookies 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Place powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Working with two cookies at a time. Toss gently to coat and place back on the wire rack.
Allow the cookies to sit at least an hour, up to overnight, and then repeat the tossing in powdered sugar.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. I wrapped mine in layers of wax paper and then covered them with foil and they did not get as soft and soggy as they can in other containers.
If you refrigerate the balls before baking they will retain their shape a little better during baking.