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The secret to nailing these classic cookies is to bake them just until they’re set but not browned. They’ll finish cooking as they cool on the baking sheet, delivering their craveable tender-chewy texture.

November 2020


Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Recipe Summary

20 mins
1 hr


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in top third, middle, and lower third positions. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  • Beat butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well on medium speed after each addition. Beat in orange blossom water and vanilla bean paste. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed until fully incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds.

  • Using a 1 1/2-ounce cookie scoop (about 3 tablespoons), scoop dough, and shape into 20 balls. Roll balls in spice mixture until coated. Arrange balls 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

  • Bake in preheated oven until outer edges start to set and wrinkle slightly, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time. Remove from oven; let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Make Ahead

Cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.