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Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

October 9, 2014

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesPin it!

As promised, today I’m sharing my little sister’s wonderful recipe for the oatmeal cookies that she baked as wedding favors for me and Paula.

These are some of the best ever oatmeal cookies: crisp on the bottom, a little crunchy across the top, and perfectly baked and chewy in the middle. And though I may be partial to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies myself – but never oatmeal raisin cookies – the bright orange and cranberry flavors in these cookies won me over immediately. They are incredibly flavorful, with just the right balance of tart and sweet.

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I made a batch this past weekend, and felt that my sister’s additions of orange zest and fresh orange juice to the original America’s Test Kitchen recipe were right on: each time I scooped into the dough to form another cookie, the fresh scent of orange zest floated up temptingly from the bowl.

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

And the cardamom that she added complements the tangy flavors of citrus and cranberry, and is more subdued than nutmeg or cinnamon would be.

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesPin it!

I would go so far as to say that these are the perfect fall cookie (as long as your ‘perfect fall’ anything category isn’t limited to recipes that include pumpkin…).

Ingredients for Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Of course when my sister Jess made these for my wedding last month, the weather was just about as far as you could get from fall. Santa Barbara was in the middle of a heatwave – one that has practically lasted all summer and is continuing through October, I assume because of California’s drought – and it was especially hot on the days right before and after the wedding. We’re talking 90-something degrees in my apartment with no air-conditioning, not to mention my sister’s crazy, wonderful plan to keep the oven on for several hours while she baked no fewer than:

  • 103 Snickerdoodles (smitten kitchen),
  • 130 Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (also smitten kitchen),
  • and 104 Orange cardamom cranberry oatmeal cookies

…to give out to 84 guests at our wedding. (Including extras for snacking on during the Cookie Baking event, of course.)

Wedding favor cookies!

Actually, we would have all been confined to my hot apartment for even longer had it not been for Jess’s genius plan to whip up all of those cookies over the previous week back at her place in Chicago, and then transport the frozen cookie dough to Santa Barbara for baking.

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Our only concern was her security check at the airport… I mean any serious cookie connoisseur knows that cookie dough is obviously a solid and not a liquid, but how much does it differ in texture, really, from toothpaste or peanut butter or other borderline liquids/gels/pastes that are banned?

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

(We looked it up and oddly enough, you can bring (cakes and) pies through security, but not jellies or jams, despite the fact that some pie fillings are more liquidy than some jams! Or do I just not add enough corn starch to some of my pies…?)

Packing up wedding favor cookies

Anyway, we were leaving a lot up to chance and the good will of Jess’s randomly assigned TSA officer.

Packing up wedding favor cookies

Things could have gone either way, and I’m sure if her cookie dough had been confiscated in Chicago, then we wouldn’t have had enough time to make as many cookies before the wedding, and certainly not three varieties of them. But it still seemed worth it for her to make the cookie dough in advance…

Wedding favor cookie baking!

So for each big batch of cookie dough, she rolled the dough into little cookie-sized balls, and froze them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Then she transferred the balls of frozen cookie dough to Ziploc bags, and packed them in her suitcase. Actually, that’s an understatement: her suitcase was FULL of plastic bags of frozen cookie dough balls, with a few items of clothing packed in around the edges.

Wedding favor cookie baking!

Then, on the Thursday evening before my wedding (which was on a Saturday), my sister and her husband flew from Chicago to California. We never actually got to find out whether cookie dough is kosher for carry-ons, though, since they flew an airline that made it cheaper to check bags than to carry on. And luckily that worked just fine – the cookie dough balls still felt frozen when they arrived, but after sitting in our fridge overnight, they were perfectly defrosted and ready for baking!

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesPin it!

I may have spent a good chunk of the end of my wedding reception sending people over to the cookie table and making sure that everyone got to take some home, but no one needed any convincing.

Thank you, Jess!

Wedding favor cookies!

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
(My sister’s adaptation from the America’s Test Kitchen oatmeal cookie recipe.)

(Makes 30-36 cookies; doubles easily.)

Active time: 20 minutes; Total time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour (or overnight) optional time to chill the dough.

~ ¾ cup flour
~ ¼ tsp. salt
~ ¼ tsp. baking powder
~ ¼ – ½ tsp. ground cardamom
~ 1 stick butter, slightly softened
~ ½ cup brown sugar, packed
~ ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp. white granulated sugar (or up to ½ cup for crispier cookies)
~ 1 egg
~ zest of half of an orange
~ 2 tsp. fresh orange juice
~ 1½ cups rolled oats
~ ¾ cup dried cranberries

How to make it:

0. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees (unless you’re making the dough in advance!).

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cardamom, and set aside.

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesMaking Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until soft and creamy, then to blend in the sugars until the mixture is fluffy, with plenty of air (or for about 3 minutes, while periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl). Then beat in the egg (if doubling the recipe, fully incorporate one egg before adding a second one).

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesMaking Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

3. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir in the orange zest, orange juice, and the flour mixture from step #1, until just incorporated. Next, stir in the oats and the dried cranberries.

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesMaking Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

4. For the best results, optionally cover and chill the dough for 1 hour, if not overnight (but then allow it to warm up slightly before working with it). [Or, if you’re making hundreds of wedding favor cookies, roll heaping tablespoons of the dough into balls, freeze individually on a baking sheet, then transfer to freezer-safe airtight containers. Defrost in the fridge before baking.]

5. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets and slightly flatten each ball of cookie dough with your hands or a spoon. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until cookies are just browning around the edges but look like they might be undercooked on top — they’ll be crunchy on the bottom and chewy in the center.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesPin it!

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2014 9:54 am

    I love the addition of cardamom in here!

  2. October 9, 2014 10:52 am

    What amazing looking (and sounding) cookies! Those flavours are right up my alley. Must try!

  3. October 9, 2014 10:53 am

    Wow that’s a hell of an effort for your wedding with all those cookies! Very cool. And this is a great recipe.

  4. marycheshier permalink
    October 9, 2014 11:23 am


  5. October 9, 2014 1:13 pm

    Mmm..these look great! I’m not sure I’ll get very many actual cookies, though, because I’ll just end up snacking on the dough…my bad :P I had no idea you could bring pies and cakes through airport security. That must have been one heavy suitcase, packed with frozen cookie dough!

    • November 29, 2014 12:09 pm

      Thanks! Oh man, I know — I have the best sister… At least she got to unload all of the cookie dough directly into my fridge on her first night in CA — her suitcase must have felt MUCH lighter after that!

      (And yeah, cakes I kind of understand, although I would never attempt it, but I think it’s just bizarre that you’re allowed to bring pies through security, or that anyone would want to bother trying it!)

  6. MyKabulKitchen permalink
    October 9, 2014 1:22 pm

    These look like the perfect fluffy cookie and I love cardamom with sweets :-)

  7. dinnerbysusan permalink
    October 9, 2014 2:54 pm

    I love cardamom. These look wonderful!

    • November 29, 2014 12:13 pm

      Thanks! I love it, too — I often add cardamom to anything that I’m also adding cinnamon to (although in this case the cardamom and orange are so good together, the cookies don’t even need any cinnamon).

  8. sarahjmir permalink
    October 9, 2014 4:44 pm

    So many awesome flavors together – these cookies must sing!

  9. elamb permalink
    October 9, 2014 7:40 pm

    Oatmeal cookies without raisins? Yay! I bet the cardamom cranberry flavour is just lovely!

    • November 29, 2014 12:15 pm

      Oh always! Haha, I don’t know what it is about raisins — too sweet I guess — but I really don’t enjoy them baked into things, whereas tart cranberries are much more appealing to me. Luckily Paula feels the same way as I do, so we only ever have oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal cranberry cookies around here… (And yes, the cardamom cranberry combination is great!)

  10. October 9, 2014 8:28 pm

    The flavour has to be amazing… orange and cardamom… I wish I could have one of them right now!

    • November 29, 2014 12:16 pm

      Yep, it’s really delicious! I like cardamom with citrusy flavors, and the cardamom/orange combination is especially nice in these cookies with the tart cranberries.

  11. October 10, 2014 9:12 pm

    This is so awesome! I love that you guys did cookies as favors. My friends and I baked up a storm during the days leading up to my wedding, and I’m so glad we did. It was FUN, and gave us time to talk and hang out in the kitchen. Horray for weddings and cookies (and awesome sisters who carry cookie dough in their checked luggage. What a badass.)

    • November 29, 2014 12:24 pm

      Thanks, Katherine! And by the way, congratulations on your wedding!! Obviously you can tell that at this point I am VERY behind in responding to comments on my own blog, let alone going around commenting on other blogs I love, like yours, but I think I’ve seen all your posts lately, and your pre-wedding baking looked amazing — that chocolate fudge pie! I bookmarked it!

      Also, when I got the little email notification that you’d left this comment (almost two months ago now… oops), I at least took the time to forward it to my sister, who also follows your blog, with a little note: “look at this — Eggton called you a badass! :)”

      Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree: hooray for weddings and cookies (and fudge pies) and awesome sisters.

  12. October 13, 2014 5:00 am

    okay, so carrying cookie dough in luggage? amazing. :) i may have told you this, but we also did cookies as our wedding favors (mexican wedding cakes aka snowball cookies b/c, december) and it was CRAAAAAZY trying to make all of them. Way to go!

    • November 29, 2014 12:30 pm

      Yep, I think there’s been a general consensus that my sister is amazing :)

      Also you baked your own wedding favor cookies?! WOW. That is seriously impressive. I mean I’m sure you had some help, and that it was a fun pre-wedding bonding experience, but I think I would have been too overwhelmed with time/planning/etc. to actually take on any responsibility for hundreds of cookies the day before my wedding, other than stuffing the finished products into little bags and standing around taking photos. In other words, although Paula once considered baking all of the cupcakes for our wedding, we scrapped that idea — thank goodness — and we would never have managed homemade cookies either without my sister doing all of the hard work! I love that you guys did Mexican wedding cookies for your December wedding though, that sounds so perfect!

  13. October 13, 2014 6:26 am

    Hey! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you’d like to take part, click the following link for all the details:

  14. October 17, 2014 2:00 pm

    Looks yummy!

  15. October 23, 2014 7:18 am

    Looks amazing! I love the addition of the spices here :)

  16. afracooking permalink
    November 3, 2014 1:14 pm

    Yum, a second ago I still felt full from dinner, but now I am craving cookies – I wonder why ;-)

    • November 29, 2014 12:39 pm

      Yep, that is why the internet/food blogs should only be looked at with caution, or when you’re definitely about to be hungry and looking for something to make & eat anyway. :)

  17. November 18, 2014 5:17 am

    I add cardamom in baking sometimes and love it! Your cookies look so good! :)

    • November 29, 2014 12:40 pm

      Thank you! I love adding cardamom in baked sweets, too. It’s a nice twist on (or addition to) the usual cinnamon.

      • November 30, 2014 11:25 am

        Totally agree. Cinnamon in sweets is already like pepper in savory dishes. :D


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