Sugar cookies are the kind of cookies that appeal to just about everyone. They can seem plain, but a buttery sugar cookie that has just a hint of vanilla to it can prove to be a very satisfying snack, even if it isn’t loaded up with chocolate chips, nuts or other goodies. Of course, because sugar cookies are relatively plain, they are also an excellent canvas for other flavors in a way that cookies that include everything-but-the-kitchen-sink aren’t.
Cardamom Sugar Cookies are a wonderful way to showcase the versatility of the sugar cookie, spicing up a classic recipe to make them just a little more unique. Cardamom has a very fragrant, almost perfumey flavor to it and it blends very well with the vanilla extract that is already in the cookie dough. The finished cookies look like sugar cookies, but offer a much more interesting and more complex flavor than you’re going to get from any “plain” sugar cookie!
I used a combination of butter and vegetable shortening in these cookies for two reasons. First, shortening actually helps keep the cookies a little chewier than butter alone would. Second, the shortening has a much more neutral flavor than butter, so the sugar, the vanilla and the cardamom are all able to stand out a little more in the finished product. The recipe will still turn out if you use all butter in yours, and it can be made with all shortening for a slightly softer overall cookie, as well.
Cardamom Sugar Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cardamom, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place of prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and very light golden around the edges.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.