These Spiced Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing get a warmly spiced, buttery twist in this take on a classic. The citrusy, herbal hit of cardamom is balanced with the rich, nutty flavor of browned butter. Decorated as bright, glittering stars, these cookies are sure to be showstoppers.
- 1⅓ cups (303 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
- 3¼ cups (406 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
- 1¼ teaspoons (2.5 grams) ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- Royal Icing (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a light-colored medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour browned butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let cool until butter starts to solidify, about 20 minutes.
- Add confectioners’ sugar to browned butter, and beat at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until a dough forms.
- Divide dough in half; cover one half with plastic wrap. On a heavily floured surface, roll half of dough to ¼-inch thickness. (Lightly flour top of dough if it sticks to rolling pin; keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.) Using desired holiday cutters, cut dough, rerolling scraps as necessary. Using a small of set spatula, place at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
- Bake, one batch at a time, until bottoms are lightly golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks. Decorate cooled cookies as desired with Royal Icing.
- 1 (2-pound) package (907 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 5 tablespoons (50 grams) meringue powder
- ¾ cup (180 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder at low speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add ¾ cup (180 grams) warm water in a slow, steady stream, beating until mixture fluid, about 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until stiff, 4 to 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Decorating Your Cookies
- Materials Needed:
- Royal Icing (recipe precedes)
- Wilton Icing Color in Royal Blue
- Water, as needed
- 1 pastry bag
- 36 (3½-inch) Star of David-shaped Spiced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies (recipe precedes)
- Wooden picks
- Gold highlighter powder
- ½ teaspoon clear alcohol
- Place 1 cup (180 grams) Royal Icing in a small bowl, and place remaining 5 cups (900 grams) Royal Icing in large shallow bowl. Cover bowls with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel to keep from drying out.
- Slowly add Royal Blue icing color to small bowl of icing until a bright blue, or desired color, is reached. Add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, until smooth ribbons fall from spatula and settle back down into icing after 10 seconds. Place in pastry bag.
- Add water, 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time, to large bowl of icing until smooth ribbons fall from spatula and settle back down into icing after 10 seconds.
- Cut a small opening in tip of pastry bag. Using in a zigzag motion, pipe blue icing onto white icing. (You are not fully covering the white icing with the blue, but you do want to fully cover the white icing with zigzags. You will not use all the blue at one time).
- Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Dip top of a cookie into large bowl of icing; twist, lift, and let excess drip off. Place on a prepared pan. Dip next cookie in a different place in bowl. Once all the blue has been used, repeat piping of blue icing, and repeat with remaining cookies. Let icing dry completely, 2 to 3 hours.
- In a small bowl, combine highlighter powder and clear alcohol. Using a small paint brush, flick speckles of highlighter mixture onto cookies. Let dry completely, 5 to 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
For dipping, start by adding water a little at a time so icing is not too runny.
If cookies are difficult to pull out of icing, excess icing does not drip off cookies easily, or there are a lot of bubbles on the surface of the icing on the cookies, then the icing needs to be thinned out with more water.