Spiced Cardamom Cookies
When richly spiced cardamom cookies, scented with allspice and cloves, are pressed with wood-grain and scallop patterns and cut into the shapes of trees and reindeer, they create a charming woodland fantasy in each box.
- Yield: Makes 60 assorted trees and reindeer or 108 small stars
Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2008
- 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 1 cup dark-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, allspice, pepper, and cloves in a large bowl. Place butter in a mixer bowl. Bring sugars, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot sugar mixture over butter, then beat on low speed until combined.
Beat cream, egg, and vanilla in a bowl, then add to butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Divide dough into thirds, and flatten each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic, and refrigerate overnight (or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out 1 disk between lightly floured parchment to 1/8-inch thickness. Alternatively, the dough can be rolled out to 1/16-inch thickness for a crisper cookie. Place a lightly floured plastic faux-bois mat (available from Chinese Clay Art) on dough, pattern side down. With rolling pin, lightly roll over mat to imprint dough. Carefully remove mat. Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining disks.
Cut out shapes with holiday cookie cutters. (Alternatively, use tree template: Copy onto card stock, enlarging 200 percent. Cut out, place over dough, and cut along edge with the tip of a paring knife.) Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, grouping similar sizes together and spacing them 1 inch apart. Roll out and cut scraps once. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (If making small cookies, start checking after 8 minutes.) Transfer to wire racks, and let cool. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 2 weeks.