Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (& A Giveaway!)

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

Hey guys! I hope everyone that celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday had an awesome one. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I had a great giveaway (and cookies) in the works for Small Business Saturday. SBS became a thing a few years back as an alternative to the madness of Black Friday (which has apparently turned into Black Thursday this year — honestly, WHAT?), and encourages everyone to shop small and/or locally. If ever there was an admirable shopping holiday, it’s this one. And I am so excited to be featuring a giveaway this weekend from one of my favorite shops: Season with Spice!

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

Many of you regular readers are more than familiar with my love of Season with Spice goodies. I’ve been a big fan of Reese and Mark’s work since SwS was just a blog, and I was thrilled when they opened their spice shop this past April. Since then, I’ve made a number of wonderful things with their spices, including:

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream

Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups with Sichuan Sea Salt

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

And most recently, these delicious chewy ginger-molasses cookies with black cardamom-infused butter! But before we get to those, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about the giveaway. Reese and Mark have crafted a great spice set filled with all the spices used above, and then some! One winner will be selected to receive Season with Spice’s Sichuan Pepper Sea Salt, Spicy Korean Chili Seasoning, Lemongrass Powder, Black Cardamom Pods, Sichuan Peppercorns, and Premium Japanese Matcha Powder. Enter by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, December 8th using the rafflecopter below. One winner will be randomly selected, announced on this post, and notified by December 9th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

And now, the cookies! Thanksgiving is over, which means it’s officially time to get into full-on holiday treat mode. I’ve been craving rich, chewy ginger cookies for the past week. And with the giveaway in the works, it occurred to me that incorporating some smoky cardamom could really take them to the next level. I employed Izy’s genius butter-infusing technique by simmering the cardamom pods in the butter prior to baking. (And although it takes a little planning ahead, I highly recommend letting the whole cardamom pods sit in the rolling sugar for at least 3 days (and up to a week, ideally) prior to making the cookies to impart the maximum amount of smoky flavor.) The resulting treat is everything I wanted from these cookies. Chewy, spicy, molasses-y goodness, with a hint of smokiness that doesn’t overpower by any means, but adds a kind of je-ne-sais-quoi flavor. So so good.

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies

(adapted from Gimmie Some Oven)

makes: around 2.5 dozen cookies

5 black cardamom pods
1 cup of sugar + 1/2 cup of sugar, divided
3/4 cup of unsalted butter (12 tbsp / 1.5 sticks)
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup of bread flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp black pepper

3–7 days in advance:

Combine whole cardamom pods and 1/2 cup of sugar in a jar. Cover and let sit.

To make the cookies:

Remove cardamom pods from the rolling sugar. Crack open pods and remove seeds. Crush seeds with a mortar and pestle and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cardamom pods and let simmer until the butter begins to foam. Remove from heat and let rest for 15 minutes, then remove pods and discard. Let butter cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, spices, crushed cardamom seeds, and pepper.

In another bowl, cream together butter and the cup of sugar. Beat in molasses, then the egg. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter, form into balls, and roll in the 1/2 cup of infused sugar. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart.

Bake cookies for 8–10 minutes (mine were done after 8). Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)

Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies (+ a giveaway!)


  1. Annette says

    I like all the recipes, but since I’m partial to ice cream Id say the Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream recipe is my favorite. I’m always looking for new ways to use my ice cream maker and I’d love to try this one.

    • Kathleen says

      I love making spice cookies and have had molasses ones on my list for a while now. I would really like to try out infusing the butter with cardamom.

  2. says

    These flavours! The smokiness and the cardamominess just take these cookies to a whole new level. I love a good ginger cookie at the best of time but I can’t imagine anything more delicious than these.

    • says

      Thanks, Kathryn! I am such a sucker for chewy ginger cookies, and being able to kick them up a notch with the smoky cardamom was so awesome. (I ate a frightening amount of the raw batter, which was even smokier. Mmmmm.) :)

  3. says

    There’s no need to reiterate how beautiful your pictures are, but oh, they are! :)

    Aren’t spiced cookies awesome? Being Italian, where cookies tend to be very simple and spices are not used very often, spiced sweets were a new and great discovery. I would love to make these cookies now that christmas is in the air.

    Unfortunately, molasses is impossible to find where I am. I might substitute some other sweetener with similar consistency.

    Thanks for sharing this! :D

    • says

      Thank you, Valentina!

      I do love my spice cookies! But I also fell in love with the simplicity of Italian cookies in recent years, especially once I came around to the flavor of anise. My ex’s nonna would make little anisette cookies covered in glaze and colored sprinkles, and I’d eat them by the fistful. I also made some sesame absinthe biscuit-y cookies last winter that I loved SO much, even though most of the people that I fed them too weren’t nearly as thrilled as I was. I guess they’re an acquired taste for some. :)

      And what a bummer you can’t find molasses! Sorghum would probably be a good substitute, though that might be equally difficult to come by. Honey or treacle could work too (especially if you can get dark treacle). Hope you find something that works!

      • says

        Thanks for the reply Carey, I just saw it!

        It’s amazing that you like the anise cookies. They are a classic and i was planning to make them for my blog, but they seem to be a favorite especially amongst ‘older’ people around here. Funny thing is, I only saw them glazed in Italian restaurants in NY, and never in Italy (and I mean real Italian restaurants).

        I’ll make them and dedicate them to you! :D

        • says

          Yay! :)

          I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if the glazing was an American thing. (And that my ex’s nonna adopted it to please her sugar-loving grandkids!)

  4. Madison says

    mm… peanut butter cups are one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and I would love to try those ones with sichuan sea salt!

  5. Allison says

    I’m probably most excited about the orange and sichuan pepper ice cream. I’ve had it bookmarked for a while now, but still haven’t made it yet- but it’s on the shortlist of ice creams to make next!

  6. says

    I am simply enthralled by these cardamom ginger cookies. Ginger snaps are a current love of mine and I just made about four dozen — but now I want to make these instead! I’d definitely be diving into the cardamom first out of that spice set. Thanks for this gorgeous recipe and for this exciting giveaway!

  7. says

    Gorgeous, gorgeous cookies! And I love the idea of adding cardamom to gingery cookies! Ginger + cardamom is such a good combination.

    Of the spices in your giveaway, I’d be the most excited by far to win some Japanese matcha, since I often hover around it at my local Asian markets but always decide it’s too expensive and too much of a splurge. (But also, I already have black cardamom pods in my house; otherwise I might be most excited about those!)

  8. AG says

    I love all spices and experimenting with them in old and new recipes… But cardamom anything is right at the top in my book!

  9. Melissa F says

    OMG! Lemongrass powder??!? I adore lemongrass but sometimes it is so hard to come by! I’d kill to try the powder!

  10. Sharon D. says

    I would love to try all of these spices, they all sound intriguing. Now the Smoky Cardamom Ginger Molasses cookies grabbed my attention :) I love Cardamom and Ginger cookies so it is perfect :) Thank you!

  11. Heather says

    I have David’s ice cream book, and have had the orange-peppercorn ice cream bookmarked for ages. I think it’s time to pull out the recipe… !

  12. Karen D says

    I am intrigued by the Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream. I’ve always wanted to try sichuan peppercorns, but for years they were banned. I think that recipe would be a good start for a taste adventure.

  13. says

    I didn’t think chewy ginger molasses cookies could get any more awesome, but they totally just did. I gotta get some black cardamom pods, stat! These look uh-mazing!

  14. says

    Oh, these sound SO good! I love a good molasses cookie, and have been on a cardamom kick for a while, now. I’m much more accustomed to green cardamom, though, so I’m having a hard time imagining the smokiness of the black cardamom… I guess I’ll have to get my hands on some and give these a try — they sound incredible!

  15. Scot says

    Did you know that way down deep in the interior of Mexico you can find cardamom flavored soda? Its unusually good.

    I’ve made the Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream a few times. One of my neighbors actually paid me to make some for him! If you freeze about an inch layer in a cake pan, it makes a MOST EXCELLENT middle layer in a chocolate cake. Just drizzle a ganache over the top and edges for a spectacular presentation.

    I make pommes anna with herbes de provence and cream instead of butter. (Laura Calder’s recipe) I wonder if a pinch of lemongrass powder might take it up a notch or two.

    • says

      Mmmm, I bet! I made a cola syrup for those cuba libres and used the smoky cardamom and some coconut sugar. It was delicious.

      I am DYING over the thought of that ice cream between two layers of chocolate cake! And covered with ganache too. It sounds so amazing.

      • Scot says

        Thanks for the recipe. I would have never thought to try anything so exotic. You have made my ice cream machine much more valuable to me. The strawberry/rhubarb w/basil is still my favorite. Now if you come across any great coffee ice cream recipes, please let me know.

        • says

          Oooo, on it! David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop has become my go-to ice cream bible, and he has a couple coffee ice cream recipes in there that I’ve been wanting to try. There’s the standard coffee ice cream that I’m sure is delicious, but it’s the Vietnamese version that I’m really dying to make. Either would be a great place to start. :)

  16. Jessimer says

    YUM! The Smokey Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre will be in my house very soon. This entire spice collection is right up my family’s alley, but we especially look forward to the lemongrass powder and all of the possibilities that it will bring.

  17. says

    Carey! I saw these cookies on pinterest and my jaw dropped. wowza! I know the traditional version as Elevator Lady Cookies (don’t know why, but I love it), so I’ll call these Smokin’ Elevator Lady Cookies when I make them.

  18. Wehaf says

    My favorite recipe is the peanut butter cup one, and not coincidentally, the spice I would use first and most is the Sichuan Pepper Sea Salt.

  19. says

    LORD JESUS ITS SPICE SEASON. My favorite time of the year! Can you imagine those chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies Izy just made with some of that sea salt?!?! Or some pistachio coconut cookies with the smoked cardamom and ginger ice cream?! I think I might just make these cookies and call it a day – I’ve had a hankering for some gingerbread. ‘Tis the season!

  20. Kat says

    I have been making triple ginger molasses cookies for Christmas for years but I can’t wait to try these with the smoky cardamom. Just the scented sugar alone sounds great!

  21. Emily Morelli says

    The Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre and the Homemade Peanut Butter Cups with Sichuan Sea Salt both sound amazing!

  22. Taliah Sotomayor says

    I would love to try the Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream, it sounds like the perfect combination of flavors. I would like to try the Spicy Korean Chili seasoning because I love spice food with a passion.

  23. Katie says

    I am so excited to try out these cardamon ginger-molasses cookies…there’s nothing like spiced cookies for warming up on a cold winter day!

  24. Diane says

    Just stumbled upon your blog (through Pinterest). Amazing! The smoky cardamom ginger cookies look amazing. Thanks for mentioning Season with Spice, will be shopping there. Thanks!

  25. Al says

    Holy cow! Coconut-lemongrass whipped cream as frosting? That sounds incredible! I would love to bring those cupcakes to a potluck party for something a little different.

  26. Heather says

    I came for the cookies, I stayed for the raffle! Just kidding, I stayed for the cookies! lol Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses cookies are the recipe I’m most interested in trying-first that is! I want to try them all except the cupcakes because my husband is allergic to coconut.

  27. JujuBingBing says

    i’ve always been a fan of ginger especially in sweets … this variation using cardamom ! OMG . i’ll be making these in the next week or so ( gotta let the c-pods mingle w/the sugar) … thinking “YUMMY !”

  28. Amanda says

    The cucpcakes with the cocounu lemongrass whipped cream really grabbed my attention when you first posted and are at the top of my list of baking items when we move into the house we’re purchasing (buying a home is no small feat… very stressful – we will deserve cupcakes!)

  29. says

    These look and sound so amazing – my mum recently introduced me to black cardamom and it is such an intriguing spice so different to green cardamom. I have only used it to make spiced fruit compotes (it is unbelievable with prunes) but cannot wait to try it out in cookies. Absolutely stunning pictures too, amazing colours!

  30. Kymberly Pray says

    Sometimes when I see something on the internet I feel as though, up to that moment, I had been living under a rock.
    I am referring to the Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks: OH MY WORD that looks flippin’ amazing.
    Full disclosure, I just licked the computer screen.

  31. Madison Proper says

    Molasses cookies have turned into my favorite cookie. It must be an east coast treat as my aunt in Vermont would make these for me when I came to their house during college. I’m afraid if I make these they will all be gone in the same day! Love your blog!

  32. says

    My favorite recipe is Orange & Sichuan Peppercorn Ice Cream!! Looks amazing!!

    anna.indeed at gmail dot com

  33. Emily S says

    I’ve been looking for a new ginger cookie recipe! I’m so excited about the complexity of the flavors here! But the orange and sichuan peppercorn recipe – can warm weather come soon enough?

  34. says

    Ahh I am so behind on commenting that I’m just going to start fresh right here and right now. Allow me to collate all my comments into one monster comment?

    1. These cookies! You always think of the most amazing ways of incorporating exotic spices into your cooking. I’m in awe Carey. I also love the idea of the flavor being je-ne-sais-quoi. Not in-your-face but not meek either. Definitely an idea you should base your cookbook on. ;)

    2. Why haven’t I yet made ginger cookies, or ginger ANYTHING for that matter, this season? I guess I’ve been a little late in celebrating the shift from pre-holiday to full-on-holiday mode. And full-on-holiday-treat mode? Yeah, I need to work on that. Especially because there are only 3 weeks left until Christmas! (Dreading the holiday shopping crowds.)

    3. How did hostessing turn out? Did you end up spatchcocking? And did you like the brussels sprouts? We ended up overbaking our turkey by about 10 minutes because the meat thermometer kept telling us vastly differing temperatures. It was so frustrating! I still haven’t figured out what we did wrong, but at least the turkey took only took about 90 minutes to bake.

    4. Oh my gosh, the presentation on those sweet potatoes just makes the dish! So pretty! You didn’t use a mandoline did you? And I’ve never eaten the marshmallow-sweet-potato combo, but I think I’m much more a cilantro and sriracha girl. (unless the marshmallow comes in frosting form – did you see Deb’s sweet potato cake?) Also, what is cultured butter? I used a Vermont Creamery recipe to make my pumpkin brioche last month and it listed cultured butter as an ingredient. Is there a difference between it and regular?

    5. No turkey sandwiches for us, thankfully. We did make turkey and dumplings though – so good!

    • says

      Hehe! I know the feeling. ;)

      When I made these cookies I was totally thinking of the bacon fat gingersnaps you made last year. Part of me wonders what would happen if I swapped out the butter for bacon fat in this recipe and infused that with the pods for some extra smokiness. Mmmm.

      Thanksgiving went great, and we totally spatchcocked that bird! (It’s kind of terrible how much I enjoyed removing the spine…) It turned out super well, though not as juicy as it has been in past years. But I wonder how much of that has to do with the spatchcocking vs. the dry brine I went with this year (as opposed to the wet brine I’ve done in the past). I was chatting with a chef friend of mine about it, and he suggested doing the dry brine again next year, but also injecting a wet brine into the turkey. That could be interesting. (He also told me about how he went to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving and discovered that the turkey [which had been in the oven for a while] was upside down. They flipped it, but he said it was the juiciest bird he’s ever had. I looked it up, and apparently roasting breast-down and then flipping it in the last half hour is totally a thing people do, for the purpose of keeping the meat super juicy. I kind of can’t imagine wrestling with a super hot turkey though, especially a spineless one.) I’m all about the oven space it freed up though, and the fact that it was done in an hour and a half! I didn’t have any sort of flat rack to put the thing on while it baked, so I just put a ton of aromatics under it instead. Those drippings made the best gravy EVER.

      Also, thermometers: UGH. I hate them. (I have yet to find one for working with sugar that I actually trust, so I think I’m just going to start learning to judge temp the old-school glass o’ cold water way.) BUT, as far as a thermometer for something big like a turkey/chicken/etc. goes, I cannot say enough good things about this one. I just stick it in when I put the turkey in the oven and set the alarm to go off when it hits 161°. And the digital part is magnetized, so it just sticks to the side of the oven.

      The brussels sprouts were THE BEST. I was afraid they might be a little too out there for some of my family, but everyone liked them.

      I totally cut up all those sweet potatoes by hand. :) I have a pretty badass mandoline, but I didn’t even think to bring it to my parents’ house (which was where I made that dish). And I loved Deb’s sweet potato cake! When it’s actually in true dessert form, it just seems so much more appealing. And oh man, cultured butter. What sets that apart from regular butter is that the cream is allowed to ripen (usually with something else [like yogurt] that already has lactic acid bacteria in it to speed up the process) before it’s churned. The result is tangy, delicious butter. So good.

      • says

        You know what? We dry brined as well. Hmm… you may be on to something, Carey. Again, Serious Eats convinced me to do it. I know I shouldn’t question science, but our anecdotal evidence is mighty convincing!

        And I’m going to have to look up the dry/wet brine combo and flipping the bird upside down. And invest in that thermometer. Next year will be the year we bake the perfect turkey!

  35. says

    Hi! These cookies sound delightful! I have a question, though. In the ingredient list, the recipe calls for 1 C sugar + 1/2 c sugar, divided (the 1/2 cup for the rolling sugar). Yet, in the instructions, it reads, “cream together butter and the 2 cups of sugar.” Would you mind clarifying which amount is correct? Thanks so much!

  36. Jenna Burris says

    i love ginger and cardamom. i try to put ginger in everything. those cookies look amazing.thanks! jenna_burris

  37. Heidi says

    Those cardamom cookies look fantastic. I am so excited to get my hands on some or all of these spices and experiment!!

  38. Delia Gardner-Price says

    I think the molasses cookies and the Angel Food cupcakes with the coconut-lemongrass buttercream look divine! I love baking so this year I wanted to do something more interesting, and those two recipes have won my heart!

  39. Jamie says

    Wow these cookies look so delicious! But I have to say that my favorite recipe would have to be the Cuba Libre – it just looks so refreshing!

  40. Roshwill says

    Hi thanks for sharing the spices!
    ME and my family would surely first try the korean spice! We love spicy foods here. ;)

  41. Jai B. says

    My favorite recipe is the Homemade Peanut Butter Cups with Sichuan Sea Salt and i would be most excited to use the spicy korean chile

  42. Alina says

    Discovered your Blog at saturday and was amazed by the Cardamon, Ginger Molasses Cookies. Four hours later went to the kitchen to make this weeks bread. And as a whole wheat mixed seed bread and a double batch ciabatta bread (from Valentina @Hortus) wasn’t enough i started on the cookies. After i took the molasses jar out of the cabinet it hit me – i will have christmas smelling cookies in my house by tomorrow. Let me just thank you for putting this recipe out there so i can add it to my all time favs and to my xmas gift bags. Reminded me of the german lebkuchen, the scandinavian pfeffernüsse but more intense. Really, really easy to make and the end up looking like the cookies in those great photos of yours. Great!

    P.S. I did infused the butter but not the sugar with the cardamon. Oh and i might reduce the sugar in the dough unless i desire them as they are-really sweet.

  43. Michelle B says

    I am incredibly excited to try the Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre! Looks so good!
    As for the spices above, I am especially intrigued by the lemongrass powder and would love to try cooking with it!
    Thanks for this incredible giveaway!

  44. Jen Hudok says

    These cookies sound amazing! But in reading through the recipe, it is a little confusing how many cardamom pods to add to the sugar (which are then crushed) and then how many to add to the melted butter for infusing? It looks like the butter-infused ones are discarded, but the crushed sugar ones are used in the dough? Sorry if this was already asked…I scrolled through the questions but did not see anything. Thanks! So excited to try these!

    • says

      Hi Jen – Sorry about the confusion. What you’re doing with the cardamom pods is initially letting all 5 of them sit in the rolling sugar (whole) for a few days. Then you remove them from the sugar, crack them open, and remove the seeds from the pods. The seeds are crushed with a mortar and pestle and mixed in with the rest of the spices and dry ingredients, while the pods are simmered in the butter, then discarded. Hope that all makes sense!

    • says

      Thanks, Sophia! Bread flour has more protein than AP flour, which means better gluten development and makes for a chewier cookie. (I’m ALL about the chewy cookies, so I like to sub it in for some AP flour in lots of recipes!)

  45. says

    Tried these today! So delicious. I like working with the chilled dough. Made the balling process a lot less sticky. I didn’t have black cardamom on hand so I used the green. Also didn’t have bread flour so I substituted with another cup of all-purpose. As far as I could tell they worked just just fine. Yum! Thanks for the recipe.

    • says

      So glad you enjoyed them, Ange! I’ve made these with all AP before and they turn out great too. The bread flour just makes them a wee bit chewier. :)

  46. Tad Davis says

    So many people wishing, imagining and wanting! I’m more of an action guy, so I made the cardamom cookies planning to gift the neighbors, who have gifted me numerous times this year. But. I. ate. all. of. the. cookies. Now I have to wait three more days to make another batch, and practice some serious self-control. This recipe is a keeper for my granddaughter. Thanks for that!

    • says

      Hehehe! I am so guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to holiday treats. Glad you enjoyed them, and I hope the neighbors get some from the second batch! :)

    • says

      Omitting it entirely wouldn’t really work, so you’d want to replace it with something of a similar consistency (and flavor, if possible). Sorghum and dark treacle would be good substitutes if you can find them. Honey or maple syrup would also work well, though the flavor isn’t quite as strong as molasses. (The latter would also be less viscous than molasses, so you would want to use just a smidge less.) You could also try date or jaggery syrup, though the same goes for these re: the viscosity and using a little less. Hope this helps!

  47. Siba says

    I baked these today and they were sooo good!! What is the factor that makes them crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside? Is it the temperature? Or the ratio between dry and wet ingredients? Or is it the sugar they were rolled in? I would love to make all cookies the same way!

    • says

      So glad you enjoyed them! I think the crunchy outside is due mostly to the rolling sugar. (It’s definitely my favorite part — maybe all cookies should be rolled in sugar!)

  48. Laura says

    Just getting ready to bake off my THIRD batch of these since finding this recipe a few weeks ago via theKitchn. These are amazing! Everyone on my Christmas baking list is getting them. I ran shy of molasses for the last batch, so topped off with honey. These are going over really well at my office. Thanks for making me a Christmas cookie superhero this year. :)


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