This post has been updated for recipe, content and photographs since its original publication in 2014.
Want a soft, chewy, lightly spiced cookie recipe with fun mix ins like toasted pecans and sweet tart dried cherries? These easy dried cherry pecan cardamom cookies are the best. They’re thick, chunky, tender and softly cloaked in a blend of seasonal spiced sugar. Homemade pecan and dried cherry cookies are soft, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good.
I’m normally a sucker for crispy cookies, but there’s something to be said for the soft, fat, chewy variety. These cinnamon cardamom cookies are just that! Speckled with chewy dried cherries and crunchy toasted pecans, they’re a tasty treat for afternoon snacking, especially with a cup of steaming coffee or tea.
Ingredients for dried cherry pecan cardamom cookies
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Ground Cardamom
- Ground Cinnamon
- Unsalted Butter
- Dried Cherries
What does cardamom taste like?
Cardamom is a complex floral spice that’s often paired with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and other similar spices. It has hints of citrus and can be used in both sweet and savory cooking. In these cookies, the ground cardamom balances the cinnamon, giving it a softer spice profile without the harshness of ground cloves. Perfect for people who are sensitive to cloves. It also blends harmoniously with the flavor of pecans and dried cherries for cookies that have nuance and balance.
Mixing the dough for cherry pecan spice cookies
These easy cinnamon cardamom cookies start out like most cookies, mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and creaming the butter and sugar into another, except I take a cue from Christina Tosi (of Milk Bar fame) and beat the butter and sugar until they are VERY light and fluffy. Not a minute or two, but a full 5 minutes before adding in the egg and vanilla — and then we beat them again! She swears by this method and after having made the Double Chocolate cookies from her Milk Bar cookbook, I think she’s onto something.
- In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon) and whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl (I prefer a stand mixer) beat together the sugar and room temperature butter until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium high. Scrape the sides occasionally.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat again for another 2-3 minutes until very well combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions to the creamed butter and mix in slowly, until just combined. Do not over mix the dough after you add the flour or it can become tough.
- Fold in the chopped toasted pecans and dried cherries with a large rubber spatula until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Transfer the dried cherry cookie dough to the refrigerator to chill.
How to make soft cookies.
There are a few tricks to making soft cookies including which type of fat you use (usually butter or shortening). There are pros and cons to each. Here’s a brief breakdown:
Shortening – We’re talking Crisco here folks and my grandmother swears by it. She’s not wrong. Using vegetable shortening is a sure way to make soft, chewy cookies. The trouble is, it doesn’t lend anything flavor-wise to the dough.
Butter – Butter lends a richness that you want in homemade baked goods, but I’ve found butter tends to make for crispier cookies, especially if you drop the dough onto a baking sheet from a just-mixed batter. Room temperature butter spreads quickly in a hot oven, making for a thinner, crisper cookie, which is fine if that’s what you’re going for (I love crispy cookies) but if you crave soft and chewy, it can miss the mark.
Since I prefer a buttery cookie, I’ve found another method that uses my preferred ingredient and yields a thick, chewy, sink-your-teeth-into-it cookie.
Chill the cookie dough – Not once, but twice. After assembling the cookie dough, put the whole bowl into the refrigerator for an hour. This allows the butter to firm back up, to the point where you can actually scoop and roll the dough into uniform cookie dough balls.
A chilled or frozen ball of dough won’t spread out as quickly on a cookie sheet.
The dough bakes more slowly, spreads less and makes a thicker, softer, chewier cookie. Totally worth the chill time.
How to form and chill dried cherry cardamom cookies
- Chill the dough for one hour then remove it from the refrigerator.
- Use your cookie dough scoop to scoop even rounds of dough. Roll them between your clean hands to form balls.
- Roll the dough balls in the spiced cinnamon cardamom sugar mixture to coat.
- Place the rolled, sugared cookie dough balls on a small sheet pan (that will fit into your freezer) and freeze for 20 minutes.
- While the cookie dough is chilling in the freezer, preheat the oven.
- Line a sheet pan with a silpat (preferably) or sheet of parchment paper and spice cookie dough balls about 3 inches apart from each other.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until very pale golden brown.
Visual baking cues
- The cookies should appear to be not-quite-done when you pull them from the oven.
- The centers will be soft and the bottom of the cookies will be just feintly golden brown.
- Let the cherry cardamom pecan cookies rest for several minutes on the sheet pan to allow them to set before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cinnamon cardamom spice cookies are soft, thick and fragrant with a rubbly landscape and shower of cardamom spiced sugar coating. It’s kind of like a snickerdoodle, but with more complexity and depth.
I love the yield of this recipe because it makes about 20 good sized (2 1/2″) soft, chewy, spiced cardamom cookies. Not 6 dozen, which is excessive when there’s only 2 of us in the house. If you’ve got more mouths to feed, you can certainly double or triple the recipe.
Absolutely! Try this with dark chocolate chips (or chunks), white chocolate, dried cranberries, golden raisins, chopped dried apricots, walnuts, macadamia nuts or pistachios in place of the dried cherries and toasted pecans.
Yes. The cookie dough balls should last (wrapped well in a freezer bag and then wrapped in freezer paper) for up to 4-6 weeks. Preheat the oven and bake the dough straight from the freezer. Note: if the dough is frozen solid it may take an extra minute or two of baking to achieve the light golden color.
More cookies you might like:
- Oatmeal Chews
- Cranberry Pistachio Tea Cookies
- Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Bailey’s Chocolate Irish Cream Cookies
Soft Dried Cherry Pecan Cardamom Cookies
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon cookie scoop
FOR THE CHERRY PECAN CARDAMOM COOKIES
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cherries roughly chopped
FOR THE CARDAMOM SPICED SUGAR
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
TOAST THE PECANS:
- Preheat the oven to 375° and spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
ASSEMBLE THE CARDAMOM COOKIE DOUGH:
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl and use a hand mixer on high speed for 5 minutes to cream them together until very light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for another 2 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, blending until just combined.
- Stir in the pecans and cherries, stirring well, so they’re evenly distributed. Refrigerate the cookie dough for one hour.
FOR THE CARDAMOM SPICED SUGAR:
- While the cookie dough chills, assemble the Spiced Sugar mixture. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cardamom and cinnamon until well combined. Set aside.
FORM THE COOKIES:
- Use a 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out cookie dough. Roll the dough into a ball and toss it in the spiced sugar mixture to coat. Place the dough ball on a sheet pan that will fit into your freezer. Continue rolling and coating the cookie dough balls with spiced sugar.
- Transfer the rolled, sugared cookie dough balls to the freezer and chill for 20 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°.
- Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Working in batches, space the cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies are just barely golden. (Freeze the remaining dough balls until ready to bake). Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.