Clove is so often associated with traditional British cooking—hot cross buns, mulled wine—one can easily forget how frequently it’s used in other cuisines. It gives a warming base note to many types of dishes. It’s always used in small quantities because its sweet, aromatic flavor is very strong and pungent. In Indian cuisine, cloves are a typical component of garam masala and feature in many curries, particularly meat ones such as Kashmir’s rogan josh and Bengal’s mangshor jhol. They lend a rich flavor that is especially suited to winter.—Chetna Makan

Clove, Cinnamon, and Chocolate Cookies FAQs

What kind of cinnamon should I use in these cookies?

There are a few types of cinnamon but let’s focus on the ones that are most readily available. Sri Lankan (also known as Ceylon) cinnamon is widely regarded as the “best” cinnamon, because of its sweeter and less bitter taste, and finer texture. However, Cassia cinnamon is easier to find, less expensive, and likely what you have on hand. It’s made from a thicker bark and so the texture isn’t as fine, but it won’t be noticeable in cookies.

Can I substitute anything for the muscovado sugar in this recipe?

Muscovado sugar can still be hard to find, so if you can’t, you do have a few options. An unrefined or partially refined cane sugar with a strong molasses flavor and high moisture content, it has a slightly coarse texture and feels sticky to the touch. The best sub is to stir 2 tablespoons of molasses into 1 cup of white sugar until it’s the texture of wet sand. Dark brown sugar, Demerara, and turbinado sugars aren’t as moist but will still work too.

Clove cinnamon and chocolate cookies stacked up on a green cupboard with twine and another stack of cookies in front.

Clove, Cinnamon, and Chocolate Cookies

5 from 1 vote
Clove is a great spice to use, but it’s rather underrated. Pairing it with cinnamon—as in Christmas mince pies and mulled wine, or a festive biryani—gives a touch of magic to these lovely cookies. Chocolate and pistachio nuts add creaminess. I think you’ll find everything comes together beautifully.
David Leite
Servings36 cookies
Calories131 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 7 ounces (about 1 cup) dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 3/4 ounces (about 1/3 cup) superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 9 ounces (about 1 cup) self-rising flour
  • 6 ounces (about 1 cup) chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric , beat the butter, sugars, and spices together until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the whole egg and yolk.
  • Stir in the flour, chocolate chips, and all but a handful of the chopped pistachios and mix to bring the dough together.
  • Roughly shape a big tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball and put a few of the reserved chopped pistachios on top. Place this ball on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, leaving enough space between them for the cookies to spread during cooking.
  • Bake until the cookies start to color but are still chewy in the middle, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
The Cardamom Trail Cookbook

Adapted From

The Cardamom Trail

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 131 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 2 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 21 mgSodium: 5 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 9 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Chetna Makan. Photo © 2021 Nassima Rothacker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These clove, cinnamon, and chocolate cookies have a perfect blend of warm spicy sweetness with the crunch and chewiness I crave when I want to enjoy a good cookie (or three) with a cup of hot tea and a good book, preferably in front of a fireplace.

Delightful served warm from the oven, I baked half of the batch when I mixed them up and refrigerated the second half to bake the next day. So you could make them a day in advance and greet your friends with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies.

If dark muscovado sugar is hard to find, I found an acceptable substitute to be dark brown sugar. I added a tablespoon of molasses to amplify the intensity of flavor. Whatever nut you prefer could be substituted for the pistachios. I used walnuts because I had them on hand. I also used the “blitz” technique to grind my granulated sugar to a finer texture.

These clove, cinnamon, and chocolate cookies are different from the good ole’ chocolate chip cookie. These have a nice crisp crust and delicate chewy innards. The clove and cinnamon are not overpowering, and I’ll double those portions for my next batch to really get those holiday flavors more prominent with each bite! I used my smallest cookie scoop for these as I prefer the uniformity of size for each cookie.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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