Chocolate meets cardamom

Lately, I’ve had cardamom on the brain. It all started with this Naked Beet recipe from Gojee.com. Then, like a sign from above, I uncovered a long-lost bag of cardamom that same week at the bottom of a kitchen basket. I won’t speculate on how old it is—it was unopened with no visible expiration date. That’s good enough for me (if this makes you never want to come to dinner at my house, I totally understand).

Ever had chai? Then you’ve probably tasted cardamom before. The pods are boiled with cinnamon, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and other spices to make that aromatic brew. Cardamom is also commonly used in Indian sweets. It’s definitely got a kick to it: like milder peppercorns with a hint of cinnamon.

One fascinating thing about cardamom is that the seeds naturally neutralize your breath. Gum manufacturers have taken note—it’s shown up in Wrigley’s Eclipse and toothpaste. Chewing on the seed is the best way to experience the flavor full-on, like in these Persian candies.

As the Naked Beet recipe noted, once the seed is ground up, the powder quickly loses its potency. But I had trouble finding cardamom pods that didn’t cost $15 for a small bottle. I also couldn’t find cacao nibs. So I settled for this double chocolate-chip cookie recipe and my recently unearthed bag of ground cardamom.

 Recipe additions/modifications:

1)      1 individual serving packet of Starbucks VIA ground coffee

2)      1 tablespoon ground cardamom

3)      Substitution: I used a Plugra-type cultured, higher-fat butter (totally optional)

Note: do not use cheap cocoa powder. It’s the difference between your baked goods tasting chocolate-y vs. chocolate-ish. When I swapped my Trader Joe’s cocoa powder for Ghirardelli, it made a huge difference.

These cookies won’t freshen your breath, but they’re pretty good. I probably should’ve dissolved the coffee with a bit of water before adding it to the batter, for better incorporation.

These make good breakfast cookies, if you need a jolt of caffeine to get going in the morning. (Yes, I am advocating eating cookies for breakfast. There is scientific evidence that high-fat foods could kick-start your metabolism. At any rate, it’s better than eating a sugar-and-caffeine-packed cookie late at night.)

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