Citrus and Spice Sugar Cookies

When I think of the ideal sugar cookie, my mind often goes to the snickerdoodle, an elevated form of the classic packing both sugar and spice. Although I love cinnamon, I’m a huge fan of cardamom and citrus, so I decided to combine all three to make an elevated form of the snickerdoodle that I like to call the cardadoodle cookie.

This recipe has sugar, spice and everything nice… except eggs, meaning some of the dough can bypass the oven on the way to your stomach, worry-free. These cookies are crispy and delicious, and the dough is just as good – so let’s get baking!

Necessary Ingredients


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks of butter)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • rough pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Sugar Topping

  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • pinch of salt

Pro Tip: I like adding salt in both the dough and sugar topping as it helps accent the flavors of sweetness, spice, and citrus in the cookie.

Baking Process

  1. Combine room-temperature butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and mix until creamed. Add in vanilla extract, orange zest, and milk to the butter and sugar and gently incorporate with a whisk.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift your flour, incorporating the baking soda and salt together until the mixture is smooth, free of lumps, and well combined.
  3. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients, using a spatula or your hands to ensure they mix to the point that the dough is slightly sticky, but well combined.
  4. Flour a piece of plastic wrap and place your dough on it. Gently form the dough into a rough log shape, ensuring to coat the outside in enough flour to reduce stickiness, and seal it in plastic wrap. Place the log of dough in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (if you prefer a crispier sugar cookie, as pictured, place a rack at the top of your oven rather than the center).
  6. In a smaller bowl, combine the ingredients for the sugar topping, whisking to ensure that the mixture is well distributed (you will see darker lumps from the moisture added from the orange zest).
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap, it should be firmer in texture but still malleable. Slice the log of dough into circles about 1/2-2/3 an inch thick (around half the length of the tip of your thumb to the first knuckle).
  8. Once sliced, dip the dough circles into the sugar mixture and gently press to ensure the top of the circles are coated before placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet with 2 inches of space on all sides.
  9. Once you’ve sliced and coated your dough rounds (you should have about 14-16 cookies depending on the thickness), place them in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.
  10. After chilling, transfer the trays to the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until the sides are a light golden brown. If you prefer a crispier cookie, place the baking sheet at the top rack of the oven and bake for 9 minutes.
  11. Allow the cookies to cool for 3 minutes before serving. If you prefer extra sugar, you can sprinkle a bit of the sugar and spice mix as they cool.

This cookie recipe is great, and I enjoy being able to eat a chunk of dough or two before baking without the risk since it’s an egg-free recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

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