I’ve always loved the combination of lemon and cardamom, a common and very popular flavour pairing in Scandinavian baking. Warm, aromatic and gingery cardamom has a natural, almost effortless affinity with tangy citrus. Legend has it that the spice was first introduced to the Nordic countries over a thousand years by The Vikings during their raids on Constantinople.
This weekend, courtesy of the fruit of my lone but flourishing lemon tree, I decided to bake Lemon Crackle Cookies. A delicious citrus variation of one of the most popularly requested (and previously posted) biscuits in our house Rich and Fudgy. Chocolate Crackle Cookies. For this version I amped up the lemon flavour with the welcome addition of cardamom. Crisp on the outside yet soft and cake-y on the inside with an intense citrus hit these definitely gave their chocolate counterparts a run for their money. This recipe is a keeper that is sure to be repeated again and again.
Lemon Crackle Cookies With Cardamom
Makes 36-40 cookies
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup (250g) butter, softened
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fine table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted, for rolling
Two hours earlier
PLACE sugar and zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
TRANSFER the sugar and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl and beat with softened butter until pale and fluffy.
ADD eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicon spatula.
STIR through the lemon juice and vanilla.
SIFT together flour, cardamom, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Fold through the biscuit batter.
COVER and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake
PREHEAT oven to 170C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
FORM level tablespoons (or heaped teaspoons) of the mixture into balls then roll each in icing sugar to coat.
SPACE well apart on baking trays and flatten very slightly.
BAKE for 15 minutes at middle to top oven rack positions.
LEAVE to cool on trays then transfer to wire racks.