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Cardamom Thumbprint Cookies: A Seasonal Approach to Holistic Nutrition - Blog Image

Cardamom Thumbprint Cookies: A Seasonal Approach to Holistic Nutrition

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2019-12-11

Winter mornings are dark. As I sit in my office reflecting on the season, I actually welcome the dark before dawn and embrace the silence. Amidst the holiday lights and snow flurries, I invite you to join me in a moment of quiet contemplation. Today, as we ponder, let’s shift our focus to something sweet and comforting—cookies and cardamom.

The magic of cardamom

Although not as common in kitchens here in the US, cardamom is an everyday spice in many corners of the world, including India and the Middle East, where it’s revered for both its culinary flavor and medicinal properties. Cardamom is composed of a small pod with black seeds inside. Both the seeds and the pod share the same distinct aroma and taste that’s a bit hard to describe. Is it citrusy, woodsy, lemony, peppery, spicy, sweet, or some combination of them all? Perhaps only your nose knows what it smells and tastes like to you!

Cardamom varieties

You might find a few different forms of cardamom if you sleuth around your local spice shop or ethnic market. The small and light green pods are called Elettaria and are often referred to as “true” cardamom. The larger pods are referred to as Amomum and may be black, white or red. Either type of cardamom is excellent and I encourage you to try them both!

Interestingly, cardamom comes from the same family of plants as ginger (Zingiberaceae), which may be why the two taste so terrific together and share many of the same medicinal qualities. Try this perfect pair in this ginger thai latte which will complement your cookies quite nicely!

Cardamom’s medicinal properties and holistic nutrition

While the taste alone is enough for me to include more cardamom in my cooking, it’s also a super spice when it comes to its medicinal properties.  In fact, it’s a favorite in both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines. 

The most common use of cardamom is as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders. Clinical trials have shown that the volatile oil present in cardamom (called methanolic extract) helps reduce flatulence, ease stomach cramps and supports proper digestion. Much like its plant partner, ginger, cardamom can also help combat nausea, heartburn, bloating, and loss of appetite.

Throughout history, cardamom has also been utilized for its infection-fighting properties. Clinical trials now support this ancient wisdom with research showing that the volatile oil mentioned above contains antimicrobial properties that can inhibit the growth of microbes that often cause food poisoning, in addition to pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungus and mold.

Similar to turmeric, cardamom is also known to be anti-inflammatory. This makes it a powerful partner to help decrease inflammation and reduce pain and swelling, especially in mucus membranes and the throat.

If those reasons aren’t enough, know that cardamom is rich in various vitamins and micronutrients, especially manganese which plays a role in bone strength, healthy skin, balanced blood sugar and blood pressure. It also packs a punch with B-vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. 

Just like some of our other favorite spices, you may get a bit zesty in the bedroom with a sprinkle of this condiment too. Cardamom has long been accepted as an aphrodisiac and was once even considered as a cure for impotence. Cookies anyone?

In the kitchen with cardamom


When buying fresh cardamom pods, they should be heavy and have a sweet aroma when rubbed. (Pass on the pods that feel light and have surface discoloration or spots.)

  • When buying fresh cardamom pods, choose heavy ones with a sweet aroma when rubbed. Pass on any pods that feel light and have surface discoloration or spots.

  • Fresh ground cardamom should have a spicy, sweet, citrusy smell.

  • Make cardamom-infused tea by simmering whole cardamom pods, alone, with ginger, or to enhance any type of tea you like.

  • Cardamom compliments sweets and desserts and is a common addition in Indian-inspired treats (like our cookies!).

  • Add ground cardamom to savory dishes like meat stews, lentil dishes, rice-pilafs and curries.

  • Make cardamom your secret smoothie ingredient with a dash or two added to it or on top.

  • Try cardamom in kheer or rice pudding with pistachio and raisins for a twist.

  • Diffuse or inhale cardamom essential oil to ease digestive issues or improve alertness.

Let’s infuse our collective cookie plate with nourishing spices and a whole lot of love this season. And all around, give yourself a thumbs up with a thumbprint—on a delicious cardamom cookie.

Cardamom Thumbprint Cookies

hese Cardamom Thumbprint Cookies are so simple to make, they’re a great recipe for little ones with little thumbs looking to help in the kitchen. Not to mention, they’re delicious. Santa might just stay until morning if you leave these cookies out on Christmas Eve! 

Servings: This recipe makes about 20 cookies.


  • 2 ½ cups almond flour

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

  • ½ tsp ground cardamom

  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil

  • 3 Tbsp organic maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 Tbsp gelatin powder (Great Lakes red label or Vital Proteins green label)

  • 3 Tbsp hot water

  • unsweetened or fruit-sweetened fruit preserves or jam (red is jolly!)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of hot water in a small saucepan. Once it begins to steam, sprinkle gelatin powder over top. Turn off heat. Allow gelatin to sit and “bloom.” Then whisk briskly until foamy and the powder is dissolved.

  4. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to gelatin and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, until dough forms.

  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll a small amount of dough in your hands to make a 1-½ inch ball. Repeat with remaining dough and place on cookie sheet. Use your thumb to create a shallow well in the center of each dough ball and fill with ½ teaspoon of fruit preserves.

  6. Bake 8-12 minutes, until edges are golden. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!


Yahyazadeh R, Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar M, Razavi BM, Karimi G, Hosseinzadeh H. The effect of Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom) on the metabolic syndrome: Narrative review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2021;24(11):1462-1469. doi:10.22038/IJBMS.2021.54417.1222

Azimi P, Ghiasvand R, Feizi A, Hariri M, Abbasi B. Effects of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Saffron, and Ginger Consumption on Markers of Glycemic Control, Lipid Profile, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014;11(3-4):258-266. doi:10.1900/RDS.2014.11.258

Ghazi Zahedi S, Koohdani F, Qorbani M, et al. The effects of green cardamom supplementation on blood pressure and endothelium function in type 2 diabetic patients: A study protocol for a randomized controlled clinical trial. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(18):e11005. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000011005

Jamal A, Javed K, Aslam M, Jafri MA. Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;103(2):149-153. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.07.016

Souissi M, Azelmat J, Chaieb K, Grenier D. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) extracts: Potential therapeutic benefits for periodontal infections. Anaerobe. 2020;61:102089. doi:10.1016/j.anaerobe.2019.102089Abdullah, Asghar A, Butt MS, Shahid M, Huang Q. Evaluating the antimicrobial potential of green cardamom essential oil focusing on quorum sensing inhibition of Chromobacterium violaceum. J Food Sci Technol. 2017;54(8):2306-2315. doi:10.1007/s13197-017-2668-7

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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