Adding some spice to honey cookies
FoodA treat for a sweet year

Adding some spice to honey cookies

A one-bowl recipe that can be mixed by hand

Spiced honey cookies (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Spiced honey cookies (Photo by Jessica Grann)

Honey cookies show up every year at Rosh Hashanah and people often make them for Sukkot as well.

I don’t think that I’m alone in feeling that our beloved honey cookies are a bit boring. I usually try one but rarely go back for seconds. I love the texture of honey cookies, but I find the flavor a bit flat, so I decided to spice things up a bit with cardamom and extra cinnamon.

Cardamom is such a warming spice to add to autumn recipes yet it’s much more subtle than ginger or clove. It heightens the flavor without overpowering the overall taste of a honey cookie. The cinnamon and cardamom spice mix make a really lovely cookie.

If you want to take the flavor up a level, or are looking for something with Sephardic vibes, then you can add orange blossom water to the cookie dough.

I love that this is a one-bowl recipe that can be easily mixed by hand. I like to share one-bowl recipes as often as possible for their easy mixing and cleanup but especially because they are simple to make with children or on Yom Tov.

These cookies keep well for days in a tin and they also freeze very well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out of the freezer as you need them.

The cookies are not dry, but they hold up well if you want to dunk them in a cup of tea or coffee. They are also the perfect size for children to eat — not too big and not too small.

Spiced honey cookies

Makes about 22 medium-sized cookies; doubles easily

2 eggs
6 tablespoons oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)

3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour, for rolling the cookie dough balls

Combine the eggs, oil, honey, sugar, salt and spices in a medium-sized bowl with a whisk. If adding the optional orange blossom water, mix that in at this time.

Add 1 cup of flour and mix by hand with a spatula.

Once the first cup of flour is incorporated, mix in the second cup until you don’t see any white spots of flour.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least one hour.

This is a sticky dough. I recently tried refrigerating it overnight to see if it would be easier to work with, but I didn’t see enough of a difference to suggest doing so.

Use a measured tablespoon or cookie scoop to form dough balls that are uniform in size. The dough should be gently rounded on the top (not a flat measure).

Use another small spoon to release the dough from the measuring spoon. Roll each cookie in the palm of your hand to make a ball. You’re going to have slightly messy fingers with honey cookies — there’s just no way around it. I keep a small dish of water to dip my fingers in if things get really sticky.

Mix the sugar and flour in a small dish and roll each dough ball completely into this mixture.

Bake the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets for about 14 minutes at 350 F.

Remove the cookies from the baking pan and cool them on a wire rack.

Store them in a cookie tin for 4-5 days or freeze in plastic bags for later use.

Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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