Makes about 18
Cardamom is a pungent spice, available as whole pods, whole seeds, or ground seeds. For this recipe, the seeds should be ground very fine so it's best to buy preground cardamom, but make sure it is fresh.
Beat with an electric mixer until blended:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Add and beat until fluffy:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Add and mix until completely incorporated:
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together and add:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix just until all ingredients are well blended; do not overmix. Chill dough for 3 to 4 hours before rolling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark cookie cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Cut decorative patterns in the cookies if desired. Using a pastry brush, brush each cookie lightly with water, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly colored. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost, if desired, with royal icing.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 pound confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder, and 6 tablespoons warm water; mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Note: This makes an icing right consistency for piping; for "flooding" (filling in the cookie after piping around the border), add water a little at a time to achieve a pourable consistency, like heavy cream.