These rose-cardamom gingersnaps embody the spirit of Middle Eastern dessert: abundance and generosity. To my mind, the best Middle Eastern desserts push the envelope just enough, so that everything is unbelievably fragrant, sweet, and perfect, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. That’s the spirit of these gingersnaps — they are a wonderful way to express gratitude, hospitality, and warmth.
For the cookies:
10 ounces (2 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 sticks butter at room temperature (16 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon rosewater
For the icing:
2 egg whites *
2 tablespoons lemon juice **
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater (or to taste)
4 cups powdered sugar (plus more, if necessary)
A few drops pink food coloring (or a tiny amount of red)
For decorating: crumbled rose petals and seeds (from about 1/4 cup edible rose buds) ***
* If you’re baking for someone who is immunocompromised, use pasteurized egg whites.
** Use a reamer, not a squeezer, or they’ll taste too lemony.
*** The rose petals are totally optional, and mostly just for decoration. You can find them at spice shops, tea shops, some well-stocked supermarkets, and online. They also make great tea, and I’ve got a few recipes on my blog that feature them, in case you need more ways to use them.