Tuesday, December 13, 2011

orange-cardamom cookies

I am one of those people who tears recipes out of magazines and let's this enormous pile amass on my desk. Then, a few times a year I go through the pile and I neatly file the recipes into these (totally type-A) binders in my home office...and then I usually forget to go look at the binders, until the next time I am busy filing a stack of recipes. This recipe, however, stuck in my mind and I did go dig it out of the office last night. With cooking I just wing it, and come up with my own recipes. Those of you who bake know you can't wing it. This probably explains why I don't call myself a baker any other time except Christmas...Anyway, I made these last night and they are amazing. Think dense shortbread-like cookie with the flowery, Indian taste of cardamom alongside the zest of orange. Not too sweet. Perfect with a cup of tea. An adult cookie.

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.
Assuming you are undeterred by my caveats, let's go! I'm reprinting the Gourmet recipe here + giving you a few pictures of the recipe in action, so you have everything in one place:

Orange-Cardamom Cookies
(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
parchment paper

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...

Rolling each ball of dough out first time was tough...

but eventually each ball of dough became a nice, even disk ready to be cut.

While the cookies tasted amazing: not too sweet, full of flavor...they looked a little too plain for a Christmas cookie...

so I did drizzle each one with a bit of royal icing. And that little additional bit of sweetness made them perfect.

1 comment:

  1. I love Cardamon. With the orange I bet it is yummy. I have never seen a recipe like this!


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