December 10, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Cookie

We had a holiday day yesterday at our house. Since Zach celebrates Hanukkah, and I celebrate Christmas, I was feeling the need to create a bridge between the two. A common ground. A day for both of us (and Lola, of course).

So, as part of our little family holiday extravaganza yesterday, I decided everyone in the household would get to pick a cookie for me to make. Lola included. Because three kinds of cookies is better than two kinds of cookies, right?

And since Lola can't really pick herself this year, I picked for her. 

And as it turns out, I think I picked the perfect holiday cookie for Lola's special cookie. 

Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookie Squirrels.

Why were these chosen as Lola's cookie? Well, we know the girl loves songs about birds. "Little Bird, Little Bird," "Three Birds," "Blackbird." If the song has a bird in it, she'll light up when it's playing. So, I've decided if she loves songs about birds, she must love real birds too. Or bird-shaped cookies, at least.

So, my original plan was to make sugar cookie bird cut-outs in honor of her. But with the snowstorm yesterday, I didn't make it to the store to get a bird cookie cutter. So, I rummaged around through what I already had and found a cute squirrel. And since her nursery is woodland themed, boom.

Why were these the perfect holiday cookie? Because they are classic. But different.

Every year when it comes time to make holiday cookies, I crave the usual suspects but am intrigued by all sorts of new recipes (is this sounding somewhat similar to my last post?). This recipe achieved both. Sugar cookies are a holiday cookie staple. The cardamom and orange made them feel special--and taste amazing.

I love these cookies. They'll become one of our regulars. I think I'll have to make them every year for Lola and tell her the story of how they became her cookie. 

I hope she actually likes them one day... :)

Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookies
Adapted very slightly from December 2009 issue of Bon Appetit

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 c plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Sanding sugar, to decorate

Whisk dry ingredients together in bowl; set aside.

Using mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until creamy. Slowly add the sugar; beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in orange zest and vanilla. Beat in egg. Add flour in 3 parts. Mix until just blended. 

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour until cool enough to be formed into balls.

Form dough into two balls. Refrigerate overnight. (I found that this dough needed to be very cool to work with easily).

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out each ball of dough on well-floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out using cookie cutters.

Place on greased baking sheet, leaving room in between for spreading. Decorate with sanding sugar.

Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

1 comment:

  1. Those look amazingly tasty, and I love your photos! I need to start taking good ones instead of focusing on the baking and making the pictures an afterthought.