in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sam's Star Cookies (Clementine Cardamom Shortbread)

"Star Cookies" That's what Sammy wants. A little man of few words but definite opinions. He loves these citrusy shortbread stars that I created this Christmas season. The flavors are based on a sugar cookie that my daughter-in-law makes; these shortbread gems are a bit crisper and less sweet. I first took them to the "Ladies Who Golf" cookie exchange at my friend Connie's house. She sponsors a lovely lunch every year for her golfing friends where we each contribute different cookies and all go home with a delightful variety.  I used to take them to my visiting teaching ladies but now by the time my family finishes sampling...well, I have to make other arrangements for visiting teaching treats. Thanks Connie and golfing friends! The cookies turned out to be my grandson Sammy's passion this Christmas Season so I am dedicating them to Sam Bennie.
Happy Holidays!
Sam's Star Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
zest of 2 clementines
juice of 2 clementines plus cool water to equal 1/3 cup
orange and yellow colored sugar for sprinkling (or silver)
Sam and Rob working on Star Cookies with Grandma
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, flour, salt, cardamom and zest in a mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until texture resembles meal, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add juice and beat just until blended and mixture can be formed into a ball. Turn out onto a floured board. Pat into a circle then use a rolling pin to roll dough no thinner than 1/4 inch. Cut with star shaped cookie cutter and place each cookie on a baking sheet (with or without parchment paper). Sprinkle tops with colored sugar. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool onto sheet for about 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container when completely cooled.
Sammy rolls out the dough really well for a 2 year old!
Hints: I use salted butter but if you choose unsalted, you will need to increase the salt from 1/4 to about 1/2 teaspoon. I use ground cardamom which I keep in my freezer to maintain its' potency. It's a pretty strong spice and using a little goes a long way. Use enough flour when rolling out to keep the dough from sticking to the board. If the cookies are too thin they will not finish crumbly but brittle. I like mine about 1/2 inch thick and I bake them about 19-20 minutes. That way they are a bit chewy still in the center. Experiment and see how you like them best. You could use vanilla bean in place of the cardamom or grapefruit zest and juice in place of the clementine. Sophie says you must eat three before you decide whether you like them or not--she wasn't sure after one but the next day she tried another and liked it better, and after three she was a big fan. (It only took one for Sam and me.)
Sammy enjoying the final product.
Being a grandma is just the best thing ever! Sam and his two brothers and four cousins provide unmeasurable joys and I feel so blessed! Here's to many years of Christmas Cookies ahead for Dan, Sam, Rob, Bruno, Stella, Alex and Lena! 


  1. Hey Meg,
    The cookies were a hit at the party. I loved them. Besides the yummy flavor they were a festive treat to look at. Thanks for sharing them.
    Love ya, Connie

    1. Thank you for the great lunch and the delightful company- I look forward to it each year!