Some of my favorite desserts have orange and cardamom in them. These cookies are no exception. I made them for Christmas last year, and decided they’d make an excellent wedding favor.
(The non-star is a dog bone.)
I should warn you. These have a TON of butter in them. Well, 3 sticks of butter in a batch of 55 or so cookies. But it’s worth it, trust me. The only downside is that the dough is very sensitive to heat. If you make them in the summer, like I did, I recommend dividing the dough into quarters rather than half before chilling, and work quickly. I made two or three batches for our wedding, and it took me two or three days to bake all of them. But again, it’s sooo worth it. (The photos, by the way, are from Christmas…. I did not give out tree-shaped cookies at our July wedding.)
Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookies (from the December 2009 issue Bon Appetit)
makes about 55 3-inch cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
Whisk flour, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in finely grated orange peel and vanilla. Add egg; beat to blend. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture; beat on low speed to blend. Add remaining flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed to blend. Refrigerate until firm enough to hold shape, about 1 hour.
Divide dough in half (or, if you’re working in a warm kitchen, divide into quarters). Form each half (or quarter) into a ball and flatten into disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll out, about 45 minutes.*
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to generous 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters. Carefully transfer cookies to baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Gather dough scraps into a ball, flatten, and freeze for about 10 minutes until it is firm enough to roll out again.
Bake cookies until light golden brown, about 16 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Slide parchment paper and cookies onto a cooling rack. Let baking sheets cool, and repeat process with remaining dough.
Cookies can be stored for 3 days in an airtight container. (I also found that they freeze well for a couple weeks.)
*You can make the dough 1 day ahead and refrigerate. Let the chilled dough stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes so that it is soft enough to roll out.