An Asian or Middle Eastern Twist To Your Regular Desserts

A pod that packs powerful flavours.

A very Asian and Middle Eastern flavour, cardamom is one of those spices that is beautiful when incorporated into desserts. Whether you incorporate it into a chocolate mousse for a Middle Eastern touch, or into your otherwise plain vanilla sponge… Cardamom can go a long way when used in making desserts. For this recipe, we are taking on the cookies. I thought, since it is UAE National Day, I am going with one of UAE’s favourite flavours and so the cardamom. Since cardamom and rose water are usually paired together in this area of the world, and being two of the popular Middle Eastern flavours, I am shaking the sugar cookie up and allowing it to celebrate the UAE National Day with us. The outcome is gorgeous and absolutely delicious. The cookies worked very well for cutouts, holding shape, very aromatic and also able to hold decorations, both wet (royal icing) and relatively dry (fondant). Otherwise, they were just as good as any spiced sugar cookie, served without any decorations if a theme is not required.

I have included for you a video for how to make chocolate butterflies. Not only are these gorgeous, but made out of chocolate they are way better than the overly sweet royal icing option (however technique also applicable to royal icing if needed). You can make these butterflies in different sizes and stick them with melted chocolate to the sides of the cookie or however you desire. They can be individually placed on a cookie or you can go for a group in different sizes on each cookie… when it comes to decoration each one has a style, so let your shine… These butterflies are great because they can completely transform a frosted cupcake, a cake and a cookie into master pieces, check it out and see how inspiring they are…

With that said, do not stick to National day only for making these, they do offer a delicious variety for your afternoon tea selection. They are also very elegant and flavoursome served next to tea or coffee when you have guests over. They are a really aromatic and delicious housewarming gift, if packed in a nice basket and given to your new neighbour or friend. Speaking of gifts, they also make a very good party favour. Packed in jars, or cookie bags or even mounted on lolly sticks and used in creating a bouquet… you get the drift… So let’s get to it, this is how to make these Cardamom Sugar Cookies/ Cookie Cutouts…


Makes 12 large cookies or 24 small cookies

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 400g organic all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp rose water (optional)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and cardamom powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and rose water, beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Add the flour and cardamom mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low just until combined.

Raise the speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until all are very well incorporated. Transfer the cookie dough to a plastic bag or wrap with cling film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.


It is essential that the dough does not get overworked or heated, especially for cutouts, as the butter will shorten and the dough will over spread in the oven. That will ruin the shape. For properly shaped cookies that snap, keep the dough refrigerated, and after cutting the shapes, place the whole tray back in the fridge, for at least 15 minutes, to cool before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350F- 180C. Line cookie sheets with baking paper. Set aside.

The cutouts

After cooling for 30 minutes in the fridge, take the dough out and cut it into 4 portions. Work 1 portion at a time, keeping the remaining 3 in the fridge.

Place the one quarter of cookie dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out. Using the desired shape cookie cutters or (templates and a super sharp knife), cut out the shapes. carefully release the dough from the baking sheet, and transfer to the lined baking tray.

When the tray is full, place in the fridge for 15 minutes.



After cooling, place the sheet on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes for large ones, and 15-18 minutes for smaller ones.

When done, the cookies should be golden brown on the bottom and edges.

Carefully, transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Do not attempt to decorate the cookies before they are completely cooled.


Decorating Ideas

  • Use the same cookie cutters to cut rolled out Fondant, then stick on the cookie. One very simple way to stick fondant on a cookie is to brush a very small amount of Piping Gel or Jam on the cookie, and that will act as glue. Otherwise a bit of water will do. Create definition by tracing over the edges and creating details with Royal Icing (recipe on this link).
  • Use Royal icing to create borders around the edges and over the desired detail areas, then fill with thinned royal icing (a drizzling consistency icing also known as flooding). This technique is very much like that of glass art, where you draw with a tube and then fill in with colour.
  • You can make chocolate butterflies as shown in the video above, in different sizes. Once they are dried stick them to your fondant topped or royal icing flooded cookies for a 3D decorated cookie. These look beautiful because there’s depth and height to them when on a cake stand, tiered platter…etc.
  • Dust with cocoa Powder or Icing Sugar. If using a stencil sheet you can create shapes by dusting over it, and then when you remove the sheet, you will have the desired shapes in sugar.
  • Create 3D shapes out of fondant or Gumpaste and stick them to the cookie. The shapes are preferably made really small as it’s a cookie after all. Mini roses, flowers, bows, butterflies are an excellent choice here.
  • For National day celebrations, create flowers or roses in the colours of the flag out of fondant and stick them atop the cookies. Or make flags and stick them on top of the cookies…etc

Happy UAE National Day to all 🙂

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