Honey Cookies

Nothing is quite as wonderful to me during the Christmas season as Christmas cookies.  They have this magical ability to take me back to my childhood.  On my mom's side of the family we usually had two kinds of cookies: the usual cut-outs that so many people know and love, and these honey cookies.  The recipe came from my mom's mom, who is Finnish.  This is the only Finnish food I can ever remember my grandma making, but if the rest of Finnish cuisine is like this then maybe I should invest in a Finnish cookbook!

There is only one problem with these cookies:  You have to let them cure for about two weeks after making them before you can eat them.  And trust me when I say that once you've had them you won't want to wait two weeks!  Lucky for you that there's still 16 days till Christmas so there's plenty of time for you to make a batch of these honey cookies for your family.
Cookie Ingredients
1-16 oz jar honey
2 cups sugar
1/2 lb butter
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour

Combine honey, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and boil 1 min over medium-high heat.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and add in the honey mixture.  Let this raise on your counter overnight or for half a day.

At this point you need to knead in some more flour.  This is the part where my grandmother was really vague.  I believe the original recipe only says "knead in more flour".  You're going to want to add at least an additional cup of flour here.  If the dough is too difficult to work with just stick it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will soften right up.  You want the dough to be slightly more firm than playdough.

Once all of the flour is incorporated roll it out "pencil thin", which means 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough into two inch strips and then cut the strips diagonally so you wind up shapes that my grandmother refers to as diamonds, although the math student in me knows they're really parallelograms.

Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  When they come out of the oven they will seem too soft at first but after they cool they harden considerably and might make a good substitute for hockey pucks--this is why they have to cure.  For your first time working with honey cookies you may want to bake a "test batch" of one or two cookies at first.  If the cookies run all over your cookie sheet then you need to add more flour to the dough.

My grandmother used to put all of the cookies in her big roaster pan and stick it under her bed for two weeks, but if you can keep the kitchen vultures from eating them they'll be fine in a plastic bag stored in a cabinet.  Make sure you add a few slices of fresh bread to the bag, too.  This will add some moisture to the cookies and soften them up, just like when your brown sugar dries out.

After two long weeks of waiting you can glaze the cookies and eat them!

Glaze Ingredients
Juice of one lemon
Confectioners sugar

Start with the lemon juice in a bowl and gradually add in the confectioners sugar.  The amount needed is going to depend on how much juice you get out of your lemon but you want the glaze to be runny.

The glaze will also soften up the cookies a bit more, so between that and the curing process you should now have some very chewy cookies!

This recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies.

1 comment:

  1. What I wouldn't give for a couple of those cookies!

    Here's a big hug from another Blogmania Member. Have a great Thursday.

    And when you have time, come visit me at BOLD, the e-zine for people who love blogs. http://boldlc.blogspot.com



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