- 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.
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.