Cool things are happening. I hope they are happening for you, too. First and foremost, I was incredibly surprised to find that my blog was featured on the Bon Appetit website! Friends, if you will note: the doughnut muffins (also known as Dirt Bombs) on that slide show are the same doughnut muffins we drooled over a couple weeks ago.
In other news, today was my last day at my coffee shop, and I leave in FOUR(!!!) days for my summer getting yoga certified in Florida. How lucky am I? I have all these wonderful people that I am sad to say a temporary goodbye to (because let’s face it–I will be back, if slightly more graceful and relaxed), I get to stay with my mom while I pursue my dream of becoming a yoga instructor, I get to hang out with my dog for more than the normal 5 days I usually visit for, AND I get to go to Montreal from there. Also, I will be a quarter of a century old in a matter of days. Gulp! Something tells me birthday cake is on the horizon.
In the meantime, I hope it’s OK if we talk about cookies. I will be honest: all that other stuff we have discussed is negligible, because we have marzipan-infused, cardamom-scented snickerdoodles on our to-do list. My idea for these cookies spawned from two unexpected items: 1) Ikea, and 2) cream of tartar. As for Ikea, on my most recent trip, I grabbed an entire box of elderflower juice boxes and, despite my better judgement, continued adding things-including a small package of marzipan-to the growing pile of goodies in my arms. THEN, in my effort to make an especially gooey, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth, how-did-she-do-that? kind of cookie, I started researching different kinds of leavening agents. Here’s where the cream of tartar comes into play.
I already knew that baking soda reacts to acidic ingredients (think yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, etc.). Interestingly, though, I learned that cream of tartar helps to activate baking soda. Sure, we could just use baking powder (which is essentially baking soda combined with an acid), but it sometimes can be double-action, which causes further leavening. For the sake of experimentation and the pursuit of the ultimate, not-even-remotely-cakey cookie, I thought I’d see what cream of tartar would do. The result? Hands down, the best cookie recipe I have ever come up with.
With just the right amount of almond flavor, the slightest suggestion of cinnamon and cardamom, and a delicate, chewy bend to each bite, these cookies are simply divine. For those of you in need of another cool thing to happen to you, here it is.
Makes 24 cookies
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (depending on how much spice you like!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz marzipan, cubed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
TOPPING: Stir sugar and spices in a medium bowl and set aside.
COOKIE DOUGH: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and liberally grease two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, cream together butter and marzipan until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla, almond extract, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients in halves, stirring until incorporated, but just combined (over-mixing will prevent these from being as chewy as they are!).
ASSEMBLY: Measure out the dough in a heaping tablespoon. Roll each tablespoon of dough into a ball with your palms, then roll in the cinnamon-cardamom sugar mixture and place on the baking sheet(s). Ensure cookies are spaced out evenly, as they will spread outward. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through for even baking. Let cookies cool for 3-5 minutes on baking sheets before moving to a rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container. Cookies will last up to three days.