Lemon Cardamon Sugar Cookies

Recipe updated (improved?) 2016-12-03.

A few weeks ago, I had a craving to do some baking with cardamon (cardamom). A few Google searches later, I found a recipe for lemon cardamon sugar cookies.n

Other than doubling the recipe, and substituting all butter instead of the blend of butter and shortening, I stuck pretty closely, at first, to the original recipe. The batter, however, was overpoweringly lemony; not bad! but the cardamon was lost. So I doubled the cardamon in the original. Still way more lemon than I wanted, so I added a touch of ground cloves.

Even after adding the flour, the dough was very wet and soft. I baked one batch directly after mixing. They spread a lot in baking. I chilled the rest of the dough, which made it easier to manage. They still spread a lot.

Those were the most lemony cookies I ever had. Delicious, but still a waste of good cardamon. I adjusted the recipe further:
  • I reduced the amount of lemon to balance the spices.
  • Reducing the lemon juice also reduces the liquid, for a firmer dough.
  • I added some ground ginger.
  • To save time and reduce waste, I zested a frozen lemon instead of separately zesting and juicing fresh lemons.
The trick of using a frozen lemon and zesting the whole thing is something I picked up from my husband. He came across it, as he says, "on the computer."

This recipe is good enough for all you beta testers out there, but it's not "finished." Although the flavors balance beautifully, my adaptation is now a little dry for my taste. I've made notes in this revision of things I would do differently next time. If you try this recipe - the original, my adaptation, or your own variant - let me know what you did and how it turned out in the comments!

Adapted from: Lemon Cardamom Sugar Cookies, Full Measure of Happiness

Yield: 60 (5 dozen) cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ frozen lemon, zested
  • 3 cups (12 ¾ oz) all-purpose flour, sifted, whole wheat or white to taste
    NEXT TIME: Reduce by ¼ or ½ cup
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)


  1. Let the butter soften to room temperature.
  2. Zest the frozen lemon (pick out seeds, as needed) into a small bowl and set aside to thaw.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and set aside.
    NEXT TIME: Try adding baking powder and soda LAST to the batter, instead of sifting it with the flour.
  5. Cream the butter until smooth.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar together at high speed until light and fluffy.
  7. Add the zested lemon, extracts, and spices. Add salt to taste, if desired.
  8. Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just blended together and no flecks remain.
  9. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  10. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Scoop tablespoons of the chilled dough, roll lightly in sugar, and place on the parchment. Flatten them gently with the back of a flat spoon. Leave space between them; they will roughly double in diameter.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes until just brown on the edges. Your sense of smell is the best guide; remove them when you can just smell the sugar caramelizing.
  13. Remove and cool for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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