The Light Spice is Just Right: Spice Cookies with Coffee Glaze

I like a butter cookie with icing -- not frosting, but a thin, hard glaze. And I thought that Sarah Kieffer's "Spice Cookies with Coffee Glaze" presented a somewhat unusual flavor combination that I was eager to try. 

The dough for these cookies comes together quickly; the most labor-intensive step for me was grinding the cardamom with a mortar and pestle. You beat softened butter with sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy; add an egg and vanilla; and mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, and black pepper). I chilled the dough overnight before rolling it out to a thickness of a quarter inch and cutting out cookies 2.5-inches in diameter. I got 26 cookies from a batch.
I thought the unbaked cookies looked pretty fat, but they spread and thinned out in the oven to end up with a pretty svelte profile. My cookies might have spread a little more than intended because I didn't freeze the cookies before baking (I rarely have room in my freezer to fit a cookie sheet in there) and just chilled then instead. But I was very happy with the results.

After the cookies were cool, I topped them with a glaze made from powdered sugar, cold brewed espresso (the recipe calls for coffee, but it's so much easier to make a shot of espresso in our Nespresso machine), vanilla, and heavy cream. I also added a pinch of salt. The glaze was so thin that I found it much easier to just dip the top of the cookies in the glaze instead of trying to apply the glaze with an offset spatula. The color of the glaze was very close to the color of the cookies, and I liked the monochromatic tan-on-tan look. The glaze set firm and I was able to stack the cookies in a container for storage, separated by sheets of wax paper.

The cookies were delicious. They were lightly spiced (quite a contrast to the ginger nuts I had made shortly before these), and the glaze had a lovely coffee flavor that was not too sweet. The combination of the spices and coffee was interesting and harmonious. I tried a cookie shortly after it was baked, and the texture was light and crisp. By the next day, the cookies were more chewy, which I quite enjoyed -- but I don't think a chewy texture is what's intended, since the headnote says the cookies bake up "perfectly crisp." Then again, the recipe doesn't include any storage instructions for the cookies, so maybe you're not supposed to keep them until the second day. They stayed delicious and chewy for the several days they lasted!
Recipe: "Spice Cookies with Coffee Glaze" from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Kieffer, recipe available here.