2teaspoonsblack tea leaves (I used an organic, English-style breakfast blend from Samovar)
3/4teaspoonblack cardamom seeds (from about 10 green pods)
3tablespoonssugar (preferably organic cane sugar)
1stickunsalted butter, softened but cool(4 ounces, 8 tablespoons)
1/2cupplus 2 tablespoons sugar(4 ounces)
1large egg, at room temperature
3/4cupall-purpose flour(3 3/4 ounces)
3/4cupwhole spelt flour(3 1/4 ounces)
1teaspooncream of tartar
Make the spiced sugar:
Combine the tea, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick and ground ginger in a spice grinder (or clean coffee grindeand grind very finely. Set aside 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture to add to the dough along with the flours. Combine the remaining ground spices with the 3 tablespoons of sugar in a shallow bowl, and set aside.
Make the cookies:
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350º. Line two rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, (or in a bowl with a wooden spoocream the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary.
In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and reserved 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture. Add the dries to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined with the mixer on low. Give the batter a final turn by hand to make sure it is homogeneous. (A plastic scraper works well.)
Drop 1" balls of dough (I like to use the #40 purple-handled spring-loaded ice cream scoointo the sugar three or four at a time and roll to coat. Place the balls on the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 - 3" apart.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until the edges are set, but the centers are still soft. The cookies will be puffed and cracked, the dough through the cracks will look wet, and the bottoms should be golden. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then remove them to a cooling rack.
The doodles will stay moist for a solid three days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Loosely adapted from Sweet! by Mani Niall.This recipe makes a rather small batch of cookies, as far as batches of cookies go; feel free to double it if you're feeding a crowd.Note that if you use wheat flour (whole wheat pastry or all-purpose) in place of the spelt, you'll want to either use the weight measurement or reduce the amount by a tablespoon or two since spelt flour is lighter than wheat flour and absorbs moisture differently.To get the seeds out of the green cardamom pods, crush the pods lightly, then pry them open and pull out the seeds.Extra spiced sugar can be simmered with milk for a tasty drink. Put 1 1/2 teaspoons of spiced sugar and 1 cup of milk (and a tiny splash of vanilla extract if you like) in a small saucepan. Heat gently, swirling occasionally, until the milk is steamy-hot. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes to infuse, then pour into a mug and enjoy.All ounce measurements here are by weight.Nutritional values are based on one of eighteen cookies.