2000s Recipes + Menus

Orange Cardamom Cookies

Makes1 1/2 to 2 dozen cookies
  • Active Time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to Finish:3 1/2 hr (Includes chilling dough)
Want to shake up your cookie platter? Simply make a notch in two of these lightly spiced sugar cookies, then interlock them to create an edible sculpture that also makes a beautiful tree ornament.
December 2007
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Equipment:

    a 3-inch round or 2 3/4-inch square cookie cutter
  • Garnish:

    citrus icing (optional); food coloring (optional); decorative sugar (optional)

Make dough:

  • Whisk together flour, zest, cardamom, and salt.
  • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Quarter dough and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped separately in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Cut and bake cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
  • Cut out as many cookies as possible with cookie cutter (chill dough again if necessary), reserving and chilling scraps. Transfer cookies to a parchment- lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.
  • Bake until edges are golden-brown, 9 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto a rack to cool completely.
  • Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once) on cooled freshly lined baking sheets.
  • If icing cookies and coloring icing, transfer small batches to small bowls, 1 for each color, and tint with food coloring. Spoon each color of icing into separate sealable bags, pressing out excess air, and snip an 1/8-inch opening in 1 bottom corner of each bag. Pipe icing onto a plate to test consistency. If too thick, thin a small batch with a few drops of orange juice.
  • Decoratively pipe icing onto cookies, then sprinkle with decorative sugar (if using) and let dry completely, about 1 hour (depending on humidity).
Cooks’ notes:
  • To make three-dimensional cookies, start with cut (but not baked) cookies on lined baking sheet. Make a 1 1/2-inch-long notch (1/3 inch wide) in each cookie, cutting toward center. If you want to make the cookies into ornaments, punch out a small hole (for string or ribbon to go through) on each side of notch on half of cookies using a piping tip with a 1/4-inch round opening. Bake and cool as directed. To make sure pairs of cookies fit, interlock cookies (one cookie with holes and one without) at notches to form sphere- or cube-like shapes. If necessary, carefully trim notches with a small sharp knife. If desired, ice unassembled cookies, avoiding middle portion near notch. Tie string or ribbon (if using) through holes of cookies and interlock.
  • Using a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip results in cleaner lines of icing.
  • Dough can be chilled up to 2 days.
  • Cookies (not interlocked) keep, layered between sheets of parchment if iced, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.
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