New This Month

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

Photography: Mike Krautter

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


  1. 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.

  2. Beat cream, egg, and vanilla in a bowl, then add to butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined.

  3. 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).

  4. 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 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.

  5. 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.

Cook's Notes

We used an assortment of holiday cutters for these crunchy cookies, which are a cross between a gingerbread cookie and an animal cracker. The dough should be made the day before you plan to bake the cookies. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10957622
    6 SEP, 2010
    Love, love LOVE these! Easy and forgiving dough to shape, interesting and playful to make, keep well, ship well, GREAT taste and smell, batch makes a large amount. The PERFECT Christmas cookie. I ship 160 dozen cookies to family and friends each year, and these are a great addition to the selection of cookies sent.
  • CrystalAnnD
    12 DEC, 2009
    I made these last year, and they were wonderful! I plan on making them again for 2009. They take a bit of effort, but the beauty and taste are worth it!
  • LynneSG
    10 MAR, 2009
    These are incredible. I make them very thin and crisp. I've served them to guests, who all agreed they are addictive.
  • LynneSG
    10 MAR, 2009
    These are incredible. I make them very thin and crisp. I've served them to guests, who all agreed they are addictive.
  • Tetamalu
    20 DEC, 2008
    The method of combining this recipe is interesting and fun. The dough works nicely once it is well chilled. Flavor is intriguing. I am thinking of using honey to replace the sugars and corn syrup. I over cooked mine but they were fine.
  • BakingMom
    16 DEC, 2008
    I'm Swedish, so LOVE cardamom! These cookies are wonderful. I have a cookie cutter that looks like a wind-blown cedar tree. I used it for these, brushed them with a thin glaze, and sprinkled them with pearl sugar for 'snow.' Classy looking. Thanks for a terrific recipe.
  • MS12183782
    16 DEC, 2008
    I ordered the rubbery mats for the designs from the Chinese Clay Art site. I got everything Martha used. I ordered one day and received it the very next day! Excellent company to order from..check it has a bunch of fun things!
  • gbaloo
    15 DEC, 2008
    I used organic rice syrup in place of the dark corn syrup and they turned out delicious. They are about the same color as the photo above.
  • cherryj
    10 DEC, 2008
    thanks sooo much for the help. i do hope to get around to making them when i get the tree up and decorations sorted! once again thanks, merry christmas
  • Anarie
    9 DEC, 2008
    Dark corn syrup is thinner, sweeter, and less flavorful than treacle. Golden syrup would probably be the best substitute. Honey would taste good but might make the cookies too soft and/or make them brown too fast. A cup of flour weighs about 120g. You might also think about using the same wood-graining technique on the speculaas recipe from earlier in the week, if you can get the ingredients for that one. It's a similar texture, so it should behave much the same way.