If you love cardamom and butter, this is the cookie for you. I made a batch of these for a friend's birthday and mailed them off, and they arrived safe, sound and delicious. These are a buttery shortbread style cookie, and the variations are endless. This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home to Yours, and I first made it last Christmas, just before I joined the Tuesdays with Dorie group. This week is a rewind week, where instead of all of us making one recipe, we choose one we missed or would like to revisit. So, if you want to see a variety of recipes, click your way over to the TWD site.
Makes about 50
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg yolk, for brushing the logs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cardamom, preferably freshly ground
coarse sugar (I used raw sugar)
You can use a hand or stand mixer for this, or make them by hand. I made them by hand this time. Using a wooden spoon, beat the butter until smooth and very creamy. Add the sugars, cardamom and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. The mixture should be smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks, again beating until the mixture is homogeneous.
Add the flour, and mix gently to combine, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. The dough will not clean the sides of the bowl, nor will it come together in a ball -- and it shouldn't. You want to work the dough as little as possible. What you're aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy (rather than smooth) dough. Pinch it, and it will feel a little like Play-Doh.
Scrape the dough out onto a smooth work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long: it's easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the log. Wrap the logs well and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. (The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months).
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Remove a log of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Whisk the remaining egg yolk until it is smooth, and brush some of the yolk all over the sides of the dough -- this is the glue -- then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with decorating sugar.
Trim the ends of the roll if they're ragged, and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies. (You can make these as thick as 1/2 inch or as thin as -- but no thinner than -- 1/4 inch.) Place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them.
Bake one sheet at a time for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top; they may feel tender when you touch the top gently, and that's fine. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest a minute or two before carefully lifting them onto a rack with a wide metal spatula to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining log of dough, making sure the baking sheets are cool before you bake the second batch.
These keep well in a tin for about 5 days or so, and can even be frozen if you haven't sugared the edges.