Cardamom Sugar Stars
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This is it! The last cookie for 2007! But, Bob does want these added to the year round cookie list! It's an interesting cookie, a bit time consuming - but great tasting!

Crisp and redolent of cardamom, these sugar cookies will become year-round favorites. Rolling the dough between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap eliminates the need to use extra flour, ensuring perfectly crisp but tender cookies.

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar or sparkling sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 dashes salt

1. Whisk flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.

2. Beat 2 cups sugar, butter and 1 teaspoon cardamom in large bowl at medium speed 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. At low speed, beat in flour mixture just until blended. Place dough on counter; knead just until smooth. Divide dough into 4 pieces; shape each into flat round. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, overnight or up to 2 days.

3. Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator one round at a time; let stand at room temperature until able to roll but still firm. (Dough will soften as you work.) Roll between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. (Turn dough over once or twice while rolling to check for deep wrinkles; if necessary, peel off and smooth paper over dough before continuing to roll.)

4. Place dough on baking sheet (still between parchment paper); refrigerate. Repeat with remaining rounds. Starting with coldest dough, peel off top sheet of paper. Invert dough onto baking sheet; peel off second sheet of paper.

5. With 3-inch star-shaped or snowflake cookie cutter, cut out dough, dipping cookie cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Remove scraps of dough between cookies with point of knife. (If dough gets too soft at any time, refrigerate until firm.) Press dough scraps together gently; reroll. Repeat with remaining dough.

6. Combine all spice mixture ingredients in small bowl; sprinkle over cookies. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until pale golden brown at edges. Slide cookies with parchment onto wire racks, waiting a minute or two if necessary to let cookies firm up before moving. Cool completely. (Cookies can be made 1 month ahead. Store in an airtight container.)

6 1/2 dozen (3-inch) cookies

PER COOKIE: 70 calories, 2.5 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 1 g protein, 10.5 g carbohydrate, 10 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!

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