Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Orange Cardamom Cookies

Do you like my Truman Capote snowman?

Looking for a tasty alternative to sugar cookies? Give these lovely cookies a try. I love their warm orangey flavor; it's such a nice, spiced departure from the traditional cut-out cookie.

You don't have to frost them, but the citrus icing really pulls everything together.

Orange Cardamom Cookies

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 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Garnish: citrus icing (below)

For 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.

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 desired, ice when cookies are completely cool.

Citrus Icing

1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, strained
1 (1-pound) box confectioners sugar
4 teaspoons powdered egg whites (not reconstituted) such as Just Whites

Beat together all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

At high speed, continue to beat until icing is thick and holds soft peaks, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 with a handheld. If not using immediately, cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Cooks' note: Icing can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, its surface covered with a dampened paper towel and bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap.

If 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).

No comments: