Here are the caveats:
- This recipe is a lot more work than I usually like to spend on a recipe (unless it's my go-to gingerbread or a batch of traditional sugar cookie cut-outs around Christmas). If you're looking for a quick cookie, skip this one.
- I love the taste of cardamom, but give the spice a sniff before you make a double batch to make sure you like it too!
- These cookies aren't going to elicit a lot of oohs and ahhs on a cookie exchange table...they're simple: round and white, flecked with a bit of orange zest and a drizzle of royal icing if you add that. That said, they pack a lot of interesting flavor into their demure appearance.
(makes 2 dozen cookies)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
zest of 2 large oranges
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom (ground)
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (I used Turbinado)
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Royal Icing (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup warm water
To make the dough:
Mix flour, orange zest, cardamom and salt. Beat butter, sugar, yolk and cream with a hand-mixer until well blended and fluffy. At low-speed, mix in the flour until dough forms. It will be very granular. Split the dough into four portions and wrap them in parchment or plastic wrap and store in fridge until firm (about 2 hours).
To bake the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out 1 piece of dough, in between 2 pieces of parchment paper until it's about 1/8 inch thick. (You must do it this way. I tried to simply roll the dough on a floured surface and it did not work!! The dough broke apart in a crumbly mess.) Cut dough into circles, using a cookie cutter, and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart. The original recipe says you can only re-roll the scraps once...but I am not much of a baker (or spatial planner apparently), so I definitely did it several more times until all of the dough was cut... Bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
If you choose to drizzle with royal icing:
Combine the powdered sugar, egg white powder, vanilla and warm water until desired consistency (should be like thick glue, malleable to drizzle with a spoon or spatula but not runny). Drizzle across cooled cookies. Let icing harden before storing cookies in an airtight container, or freezing a batch.
I did not read that the dough was supposed to be pressed into a disk shape before chilling it in the fridge. I made these balls of dough and wrapped each one in parchment paper...but rolling it out would have certainly been easier if I'd made them disks instead! (P.S. That's a double batch of dough you're seeing here.)
So, when it came time to roll, I had to press down on each one to get it into that disk shape before grabbing the rolling pin...
While the cookies tasted amazing: not too sweet, full of flavor...they looked a little too plain for a Christmas cookie...