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Cardamom Cane-Sugar Cutouts

Cardamom Cane-Sugar CutoutsAromatic cardamom adds a festively exotic scent and taste to this holiday cookie, and the larger grains of the raw cane sugar adds an interesting sugary crunch in every bite.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup natural (raw) cane sugar*
2 large egg yolks
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 to 4 tablespoons pre-ground cardamom or 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom seed**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest (about 1 large lemon or small orange), freshly grated, optional

Decorating Icing:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons lime, orange or lemon juice, at room temperature
Additional colored sanding sugar, optional, for decorating

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Add flour, cardamom, salt and zest; blend until dough comes is evenly mixed.
  2. Adjust cardamom to taste.
  3. Divide dough in four balls on sheets of plastic wrap, and flatten each into a disk. Wrap tightly, and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper or butter them.
  5. Take 1 ball of dough from refrigerator. (Keep remaining dough chilled.) On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake until bottoms just begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Continue to roll, cut and bake remaining dough.
  7. For the icing, combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat at low speed, gradually adding juice to reach desired consistency. Decorate completely cooled cookies as desired.

Makes about 4 dozen.

*Use large, granular-type cane sugars; in particular, large crystal Turbinado sugar or Demerara work well.

**Cardamom can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.