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Orange blossom snickerdoodles add enticing fragrance to a classic

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Orange Blossom Snickerdoodles
Active time:25 mins
Total time:1 hr 30 mins
Servings:Makes 16 cookies
Active time:25 mins
Total time:1 hr 30 mins
Servings:Makes 16 cookies

When we were children, my brother and I spent the holiday season arguing about which tub of cookie dough we should get from the PTA holiday fundraiser catalogue. The result was a refrigerator stocked with multiple 2-pound containers of cookie dough, snickerdoodle being one of them!

This fragrant twist on snickerdoodles brings a chewy, tangy and floral bite that will have you and your friends and family hooked from the second you smell them blossoming in the oven. They’re also a fun example of what third-culture cooking can look like. My very westernized Moroccan father loved orange blossom water as much as a classic New York slice of pizza. My childhood was full of fusion dishes incorporating nonnegotiable Puerto Rican pantry staples, floral Moroccan elements and easily accessible ingredients found in a typical American grocery store. This recipe is an amalgamation of the most vibrant influences I grew up around.

13 holiday cookie recipes to bring color and joy to the season

The tangy cinnamon-sugar coated snickerdoodle has a blurry history, seeming to have originated in the Northeast during the late 19th century. It was originally developed as a tender cake coated in cinnamon-sugar, which was then cut into bars. That the cake evolved into drop cookies was a wise choice in my eyes. The addition of cream of tartar is what brings the tanginess that leaves a slight tingling sensation in your mouth.

Always remember to store the cookies in an airtight container with a slice of bread if you want them to remain soft and chewy. You won’t regret it when you’re skipping to the kitchen for a midnight snack.

Orange Blossom Snickerdoodles

Make Ahead: To freeze, place the coated cookie dough balls on a lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once the dough is frozen, transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 2 months, adding additional baking time as needed.

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. To keep the cookies soft, add a slice of bread to the container; the cookies will draw the moisture from the bread.

Where to Buy: Orange blossom water can be found at Middle Eastern and other international markets, and online.

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For the cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water (a.k.a. flax egg; may substitute with 1 large egg)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

For the coating

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Step 1

Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, cream of tartar, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until well incorporated.

Step 2

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flax mixture and orange blossom water and beat on medium until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Step 3

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until well incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. (Be careful not to overmix the dough, as it can lead to a more dense cookie; the dough should be slightly tacky.) Cover the bowl and chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes or the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Step 4

While the dough chills, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 5

Make the coating: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom until combined.

Step 6

Transfer the chilled dough to the counter and, using a tablespoon or No. 40 disher, scoop the dough into 1 1/2-tablespoon (30-gram) portions. Use your hands to smooth them into balls. As you work, roll the dough balls in the sugar coating, arranging them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Step 7

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating from front to back halfway through. The tops should have some cracks with the center of the cookie set yet still soft. Immediately sprinkle with the flaky sea salt, if using. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Nutrition Information

Per cookie

Calories: 133; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 57 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 10 g; Protein: 1 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From Instagram and TikTok food creator Nasim Lahbichi.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to

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