Cardamom Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Cardamom Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Classic soft sugar cookies get a extra touch of flavor with the addition of cardamom and vanilla beans.

While last week was all about peppermint flavored deliciousness, this week we’re having a cookie extravaganza!

I think on of the most appealing things about Christmas cookies is the memories we associate with them. And for me, no cookie is more tied to my childhood memories than sugar cookies. Every year, my siblings and I would make sheets and sheets of them, then pile them high with colorful buttercream and sprinkles and red hot candies (blech) and decorations. They were the kind of sweet that could make your teeth hurt, and our childish little souls loved them.

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These sugar cookies are a little more, um, understated. Maybe growing up a little had something to do with it? While I still love a good buttercream smothered cookie with all of the sprinkles, these require a bit of restraint. While you could definitely frost them, I opted for a simple dusting of powdered sugar to let the vanilla and cardamom really shine through.

While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about vanilla. I used beans for these because I love the flavor, and the little black flecks in anything give it an instant elegance and make me so happy. But if you don’t have any on hand, you could totally sub a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract. Just make sure it’s the real stuff for that strong vanilla flavor that offsets the cardamom so beautifully.

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The giant snowflake cutter came from Williams-Sonoma, and they really are so big, and beautiful, and unique. I really love it, and I’m thinking about adding some of their other giant cookie cutters to my collection. Never too many cookie cutters, right?

The smaller snowflake stamps came from Michael’s last year, but you can find similar ones on Amazon.

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Happy baking, friends!


Cardamom Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction by Rebecca Neidhart
Makes about 18 medium cookies, or six giant cookies
Active Time: 30-45 minutes || Bake Time: 8-12 minutes per tray

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • The beans of one vanilla bean pod

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (Optional, but gives it a nice extra kick)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tsp. cardamom

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand beater, combine the softened butter and the sugar. Beat on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla beans and beat until just combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom into the wet ingredients. Start the mixer on low to prevent the flour from exploding everywhere, and slowly increase the mixing speed as the dry ingredients are incorporated. Continue mixing on medium-high until the flour is all mixed in.

Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a disc about an inch thick. Refrigerate for 1 hour. It can stay in there longer, but if it has hardened completely, allow it to soften up a bit before you try to roll it.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll it to about 1/4” thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you would like, and move them to the baking sheets with a metal spatula. Leave about two inches between the cookies and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. If you want them to be soft, remove them when they are not brown around the edges, but the dough doesn’t look damp anywhere across the cookie. If you prefer a crispier cookie, you can keep baking for a few more minutes until the edges are turning golden brown around the bottom.

Cool the cookies completely before decorating. They will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, or can be frozen for up to a month.