These cookies might look rather plain but they are marvellous! (I got the recipe from Food.com - I believe Recipezaar has morphed into Food.com). In fact I have butter and an egg coming to room temperature right this evening to make another batch.
I also intend making them for an event next week, but then I'll add a few squiggles of white royal icing to give them a festive air.
The dough is kept in the fridge for a few hours then rolled out. At first I got very frustrated as it was too soft and it was impossible to peel the surrounding dough from the cutout cookie. The solution is to roll the dough when it's cold, then, after making the cutouts, put the tray with the cutouts in the fridge, for at least 15 minutes. The surrounding dough will then peel away easily from the cookie shape. Also, 1/4 of an inch in height is just the right level for the cookies; anything thinner would be even more difficult to work with. I found that about 12 minutes was right for the baking temp of 350 degrees F. Bake until they are slightly golden and turn the pan to prevent the cookies at the back getting too brown around the edges.
The best thing to bake on is a pizza tray (for any cookies for that matter) as it's so easy to just swirl it around rather than struggling with moving a rectangular tray.
Recipe for Cardamon Sugar Cookies (adapted from Food.com)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Directions Beat butter and sugar together by hand or in a mixer, until pale and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cardamom and salt. Stir into butter mixture until just combined. Gather dough together, shape into 2 discs, wrap and chill until firm, about 1 to 2 hours, or freeze until ready to use (then thaw overnight in fridge). Preheat oven to 325°F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out first disc of dough to just less than ¼-inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and lift with a spatula onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll second disc, saving all scraps to re-roll for more cut-outs. If you choose, add sprinkles or other decorations onto cookies before baking. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Let cool before removing from tray. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.