BY MARTHA STEWART
These simple, warmly spiced cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection skips the cookie cutters and royal icing decorations for a charming wood-grain finish, thanks to a faux-bois (fake wood) pastry mat. (If you don’t own one, any textured surface for your rolling pin will do.) The dough calls for a wintry blend of cardamom, allspice, cloves, and black pepper, giving these snackable cookies a hint of subtle spice.
Makes 5 dozen cookies
5 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, allspice, pepper, and cloves. Place butter in another large bowl. In a large saucepan, bring both sugars, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot sugar mixture over butter. With an electric mixer on low, beat until combined.
2. Add cream, egg, and vanilla, and with mixer on medium, beat until well combined. Turning mixer to low, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Shape dough into 3 disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight (or freeze up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before using).
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Working with one disk at a time, roll out between lightly floured parchment to 1/8inch thickness. Place a lightly floured faux-bois mat on dough, pattern side down. With rolling pin, lightly roll over mat to imprint dough. Carefully remove mat. Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining disks.
4. Using a sharp paring knife, cut out shapes to mimic wood chips about 1 1/2 by 3 inches. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Roll out and cut scraps once. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. (Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.)