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Cardamom Cutout Sugar Cookies

Cardamom Cutout Sugar Cookies
The warm flavor of cardamom enhances these simple rolled-out sugar cookies. Be sure to refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours before rolling and baking.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

For the royal icing:

  • 10 oz. (about 2 1/4 cups) confectioners' sugar,
      sifted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Colored sugars and decorating pens

Directions:

To make the cookies, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix until just combined.

Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat nonstick liners or parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart, and bake until just golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies from the pans and let cool completely.

To make the royal icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the confectioners' sugar, egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on high speed until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. It is best to use the frosting immediately.

To tint with food coloring, use a toothpick to apply a tiny bit of color at a time. You can always add more. Beat in the color until evenly dispersed. Decorate the cookies as desired with royal icing, colored sugars and decorating pens.
Makes 10 to 20 cookies, depending on cutter size.
Dede Wilson, Author, Bake It To The Limit (William Morrow, 1999).