Cardamom Snaps cool on a wire rack.
Cardamom Snaps cool on a wire rack. (Mel Barber — mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

Christmas smells like cardamom. You think it's nutmeg or ginger, but it's cardamom, with its depth and richness, that carries the spicy scent wafting from the kitchen to your nose.

Tree-trimming, snow-falling, gift-wrapping, hall-decking cardamom.

If you usually make gingersnaps in the winter months, give these Cardamom Snaps a try. The flavor is spicier but not as heavy as gingersnaps.

Cardamom Snaps

¾ cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ cup molasses

1 egg

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.

2. Add the brown sugar, baking soda, 1½ teaspoons of the cardamom, and the cinnamon. Beat on medium to high speed until combined.

3. Beat in molasses and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. The dough will be thick. Stir in remaining flour.

4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in a mixture of granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cardamom to coat.

5. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 9 minutes or until edges are set and tops are slightly cracked. Cool on a wire rack.

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Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop yields about four dozen cookies. I use the scoop for measuring equal cookie size only and roll the dough into balls by hand to get the smooth look with the craggy canyons.

A plate of soft, glistening-with-sugar Cardamom Snaps will go fast.
A plate of soft, glistening-with-sugar Cardamom Snaps will go fast. (Mel Barber — mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

The choice of light or dark brown sugar and mild or full-flavored molasses is left to personal preference in the basic recipe from Better Homes & Gardens.. I used dark brown sugar and unsulphured molasses for my Cardamom Snaps, because I love molasses-based cookies.

A tip for working with molasses: give your measuring cup a quick spritz of cooking spray before you fill it, and the molasses will flow out more easily.

-- Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.