This week was my sister-in-laws annual cookie exchange. Usually I’m all over Christmas baking, but this year I’ve been really busy and haven’t had a chance to really think about it. Luckily I have an amazing mom who really likes to bake and was able to help me out for the cookie exchange. Aren’t moms awesome? Even though the cookies were baked for the exchange, I really thought I should do at least a little bit of my own baking, as well. It always helps me to get into the Christmas spirit. And with Christmas only two weeks away (eek!) I could use all the help I could get. I wanted to make something easy and quick and of course, delicious, so I thought I would make my grandma’s shortbread cookie recipe. You really can’t get more Christmassy (that’s a word, right?) than shortbread cookies. Of course, it wouldn’t really be me if I didn’t put my own spin on it, though. So here we go…
I’ve become somewhat obsessed with cardamom lately, from stuffing figs to crusting pork tenderloin to these cardamom shortbread cookies. I love the amazing aroma and flavour and I love that it can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. Beside it’s food related uses, cardamom has also been used for centuries in traditional medicine to prevent and/or treat a variety of ills from indigestion to high blood pressure to sinus infections. With so much greatness in one little spice, you should definitely try it out if you haven’t before.
These cookies are delicious on their own, but if you felt like taking it up a notch you could try frosting them using the recipe below. One of the flavours that I think gets along very well with cardamom is orange. Seeing that Grand Marnier is an orange flavoured liquor, it only seemed right to try it out in my traditional buttercream recipe. After all, it is almost Christmas…
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Cups butter, softened
1/2 Cup icing sugar
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
In a mixer beat together all ingredients until well combined. Roll into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake for 8 -10 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom.
Grand Marnier Buttercream:
1 1/2 Cups icing sugar
1/4 Cup butter, softened
1 tbsp grand marnier
1 tbsp orange zest
Beat together all ingredients until creamy and smooth. If you find the icing a bit looser than you would like, add an extra tbsp or two of the icing sugar.