Last Minute Christmas Baking: Honey Cookies
Traditional Croatian honey cookies are not that different from gingerbread cookies. In fact, they are virtually the same, except that they are not spiced with ginger, since it is not among the traditional Croatian spices and was hard to get in the past. They are usually spiced with cinnamon and cloves, the two ultimate Christmas spices, and sweetened with honey.
Among many recipes for honey cookies, this is probably the most basic one. Unlike most of the other recipes, these old-fashioned honey cookies do not contain ground nuts, and are fat free. To make them, you’ll need just flour, spices, honey and eggs, which probably makes them one of the cheapest Christmas treats. They’re dead simple to make, too.
The walnut halves on top of the cookies are completely optional. You can substitute them with blanched almonds or skip them completely, especially if you’re looking for a cheaper version. In that case, press the top of each ball with your finger to flatten it slightly. Once baked, roll the warm cookies in icing sugar. Another option is to cover the cookies with a simple icing sugar glaze.
Although these cookies are incredibly quick and easy to make, you do need to pay attention to the baking time. It is crucial that you don’t overbake them, as they will become really hard and crumbly. They will soften after couple of days in an airtight container, but it’s best that you keep an eye on them while they’re in the oven. That way you’ll be able to eat them straight away and they will get better and better the longer they sit. Honey cookies can be stored for up to 4 weeks.
The beauty of these spiced little cookies lies in the fact that they can be made either weeks before Christmas, or quickly put together on Christmas Eve. For more easy last minute holiday recipes make sure to check the previous post.
Old-fashioned Honey Cookies
1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
6 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
1 egg white, to brush the cookies
80 walnut halves
In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. Add honey and eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
Take a teaspoon of the dough and form a small ball using the palms of your hands. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the balls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 cm apart. Brush each ball with some egg white and press a walnut half on top of each ball.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don't overbake them or else they will be too hard. They are done when they start browning at the bottom. The rest of the cookie should not get dark. Cool them on a rack and store in an airtight container. They can be stored for up to 4 weeks.