Daring Bakers: Sugar and Spice Cookies – Cardamom, Lavender, Pistachio and Sprinkles

Sugar and Spice Cookies (0007) by MeetaK  

I’ve been absent from the Daring Bakers’ challenges the past two months. I never thought I would dislike being away this much. However, July and August were filled with many exciting ventures and adventures, like the gorgeous vacation in Norway, a fantastic weekend in Dresden, working on my portfolio and a steady stream of some great writing jobs I managed to get in August. Add to that a few other projects I am working on and my day job plus family - I think I am doing an excellent job of fitting a 72 hour day in just 24 hours.  

I am loving every minute of it though. Slowly but surely October and November is also being filled with exciting travel plans, writing jobs and it looks like my portfolio is attracting the attention I was hoping it would.

Sugar and Spice Cookies (0005) by MeetaK

However, I have missed being a part of my usual groups like Mactweets and of course the Daring Bakers. Also missed visiting many of my favorite blogs and although I tried to compensate by trying to stay in touch with many via Twitter or Facebook, I know I missed many delicious recipes and stories on your blogs.

It dearly pained me to have missed my dear friend Sunita’s fantastic challenge Swiss Swirl ice cream cake and the lovely Elissa’s challenge of Brown Butter Baked Alaska & Ice Cream Petit Fours. Both, I so wanted to do.

Sugar and Spice Cookies (0010) by MeetaK

This month I did find a sliver of a moment to tackle the challenge set by Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. Simple and fun basic sugar cookies and Mandy left us enough room for creativity to decorate them as we wanted to. The mandatory aspects of the challenge were to make the Basic Sugar Cookie recipe provided and the cookies could be decorated with the theme of September.

While Mandy proposed several gorgeous ideas using royal icing. I however decided to skip that entirely and decorate them using less sugary ingredients. I watch Soeren’s sugar intake and try to reduce it where ever I can so while I loved the idea of simple sugar cookies it was important to me to keep the sugar count as low as I could go with them.

Sugar and Spice Cookies (0015) by MeetaK

Instead I spiked the cookies with a pinch of cardamom and decorated with lavender, pistachios and a few colorful sprinkles. My assistant chef, Soeren helped me with each step and together we were fairly proud of the results. What do you think?

Sugar and Spice Cookies (00016) by MeetaK

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

I’d like to take this opportunity and tell you about the wonderful Drop in & Decorate events.  An organization, which was started by a cherished friend, Lydia of The Perfect Pantry with a very simple concept:
“bake some cookies, invite friends or family (or neighbors, or co-workers) to stop in and help decorate, then donate your cookies to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program, or other community agency meeting the needs of food or shelter.”

Seeing that soon the cookie baking season will be upon us thought you might be interested hosting your own Drop In & Decorate event.

Sugar and Spice Cookies with Cardamom, Lavender, Pistachio and Sprinkles

Printable version of recipe here

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
Ingredients
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavorings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture.
    Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.

  2. Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
    Tip: If you do not have a stand mixer switch to dough hooks on your handheld electric mixer at this stage to avoid flour flying everywhere.

  3. Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch) Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
    Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in plastic wrap and then refrigerate it for an hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

  4. Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
    Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.


  5. Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.

  6. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
    Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done.
    Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.

  7. Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
    Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.

Decoration
Ingredients
Pistachios,  fine chopped
Edible lavender
Colorful sprinkles
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water

Lightly beat the egg white with water and with a brush, lightly brush the cookies. Then use what ever decorations you have selected to and sprinkle the cookies or roll the cookies in it (in case of the pistachios).

 

 

 


Verdict

Sugar and Spice Cookies (0009) by MeetaK 

What I loved about this recipe was that it was so simple to prepare and is wonderfully versatile. One can add any additional ingredient to add another flavor level to the cookies. Cinnamon, allspice, anis, even a touch of saffron for an exclusive kick. The simple decorations add another delicious boost to the flavor giving the cookies a new character. Using vanilla and cardamom as a base flavor in the cookies and then the added aroma of either lavender, pistachios, why even the sprinkles just make each bite a true pleasure.

Tea with the cookies, anyone?

Thanks to the wonderful Mandy for hosting this challenge and allowing us room to play around. We really had fun with these.

Hope you all have time to join us at the Monthly Mingle this month! We’re tasting Lebanon and would love for you to join us.

Now it’s time for me to go back to work and play some more ;o) 

You might like these cookie ideas ideas from WFLH:

Almond and Pink Praline Spekulatius Milan Cookies Salted Macadamia Nut and Chunky White Chocolate Cookies

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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46 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm so glad you posted these. Loving that you used non-traditional toppings. Sugar cookies are sweet enough as is--who needs all that royal icing? I'll take lavender and pistachios instead any day.

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  2. I love each and every spice you used (especially pistachios!)! I couldn't expect less from a Spicy girl! Wonderful as ever!

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  3. glad to have ya back...love yr simple but gorgeous cookies...I ended up making the royal icing and still wondering who is gonna finish all those cookies..I guess time to pack some for friends and neighbours!

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  4. those are so pretty in their simplicity! I love the flavors and choice of sprinkles.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. These are just so gorgeous. Lovely recipe and I love the spices!! I'm there like a bear to share these over a cuppa! Hugs xx

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  6. Don't know how you make the simple cookies look so glamorous!! the lavender and pistachio is beautiful.

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  7. Looking good Meeta, make sure you have some when I come around for tea!!!

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  8. Cardamom is one of my new favorite spices (especially after making vindaloo the other night), so I would love these! They're so simple looking, but still absolutely beautiful.

    Sues

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  9. Meeta, you have used all of my favorite ingredients in these lovely cookies!!!!

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  10. Lovely cookies. They had totally different toppings. I saw all kind of icing in various blogs. Simple and Cute ones !!!

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  11. I love your sugar cookies! I'm always looking for a way to make something healthier and less sugary. Nice job on the challenge!

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  12. Such lovely cookies, I really like the delicate shape. And what a wonderful idea to decorate them with pistachios and lavender to add different textures and flavors! Beautifully done!

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  13. Beautiful as always, Meeta! And those are much more suited to my and JP's tastes and would have been a big hit! Luckily my iced ones were carried out of the house in a tin box by Clem and scarfed down by his friends. The 20-something's worry less about sugar intake than when they are Soeren's age :-) Lovely, lovely cookies. Always the most original! xo

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  14. I totaly understand why you reduced the sugar. I eat so much sugar every day that I should reduce it too but I'm too weak to do it :)
    Anyway, I love the way you decorated your cookies - it's so simple and wonderful at the same time :) Great job!

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  15. I'm really glad that you had fun with this challenge. Sometimes it's the simple recipe that has the greatest potential; for flavour, creativity and fun!

    Thank you for taking part of the September challenge (And would you mind sending me a huge box of those pistachio sugar cookies?) :)

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  16. Very nice cookies! I love the toppings! And somehow they fit to autumn.
    Welcome back to the Daring Bakers!

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  17. i love the sophstication of your entries. I went little little for little little kids, but i love that you went so grown up.

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  18. Love the cute cookies, especially those with pistachio bits! So nice...

    Sawadee from bangkok,
    Kris

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  19. GREAT job, I love all the unique falvours and creativity going on here!

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  20. Meeta, thank you so much for helping to spread the word about Drop In & Decorate! I think any of the agencies we donate to would love to have these gorgeous spiced sugar cookies. Who could resist that pistachio border???!

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  21. Aaah! Cardamom! It has to be good. Like the simplicity of your cookies, Meeta.
    And am so happy for you that your other projects/ ventures are taking off in a big way. All the best.

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  22. I am excited for you that things are going so well. These cookies are so pretty. Congrats on making it through this challenge!

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  23. I loved that you spiked them up. Looks beautiful.

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  24. The cookies are beautiful, I love them.

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  25. These are great ideas for flavoring the cookies. While I thoroughly enjoyed the icing challenge, I did walk away with wanting to flavor the cookies and maybe even the icing the next time around. I thought of cinnamon and lime as separate possibilities, but cardamom and pistachio sound equally delicious too!

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  26. Ah cardamom and lavender! Sheer bliss!
    Very elegant cookies!

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  27. I love the shape of the biscuits. And fantastic spices there!

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  28. I have a bunch of lavender in our garden (as well as some rosemary) to use up... These cookies may be the best option!

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  29. Glad to hear things are going well for you. I love it when good people are successful! The cookies look great too!

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  30. Delicious and different

    Just how I like my women and my desserts

    Excellent

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  31. what a lovely, unique cookie :) would be great with a cup of tea!

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  32. awwww It all looks so good. I'm trying this recipe out this week. thanks for sharing.

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  33. Were these the cookies that Soeren and I were going to steal? Hehe they look utterly adorable and delicious!! :)

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  34. I love the look of these biscuits. Their shape reminds me of the ones my mom used to make for my brother and me when we were little. I also love pistachios so these sound perfect.
    It's so nice to hear how well you've done with your portfolio. I wish you many more successes!
    Magda

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  35. Hey Meeta, these cookies look absolutely divine! How beautiful and exactly as you said, versatile! I love your style! Perfect....

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  36. Oh thank you everyone for all your comments. i was wondering if my cookies would be too under-dressed for the occasion LOL! appreciate your feedback!

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  37. You were missed during the July challenge, would have loved to see your version :-)

    Your cookies are so pretty in their simplicity.Love them.

    And all the best for your other ventures :-)

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  38. I love that you opted to go without the royal icing! Those pistachio ones look like just my kind of cookie!

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  39. I'm a bit behind on the blogs too I'm afraid, haven't made any macs since July and didn't post in August whilst I was switching to WP.

    The good thing about deviating from the DB brief a bit is it makes your post stand out amongst all the others everyone is reading!

    Great to hear your portfolio is attracting work.... so long as you're not too busy to come over in November!!

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  40. Beautiful, simple decorations, that actually add to the flavor. Great job :)

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  41. Looks Great and I bet will taste as good as it looks!

    :)

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  42. Meeta, you always do such beautiful variations of such simple things. These look gorgeous. It's great everything is working out for you! Well deserved.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta