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Honey Cookies

Honey Cookies

This recipe has its own branch in my family tree. It has been passed down through four generations on my mother's side. These honey cookies have been shared between mother and daughter, grandmother through granddaughter, and cousin to cousin. This cookie is as loved as it is delicious.

It should come as no surprise that these cookies hold a special seat at my family's table.

Honey Cookies Honey Cookies

These honey cookies are a simple spiced cookie, no flashy sprinkles or bright colors, but I think they are beautiful in their simplicity. This cookie is honest; whether plain or glazed, it has nothing to hide. My grandmother Gwen makes these cookies every year for Christmas—it's become a tradition to be the first to spy them after our Christmas dinner.

My grandfather would tell us every year that these were his favorite cookies as he'd nibble his way through his second. I often secretly spotted my cousin grabbing three or four, despite the fact that the Christmas dessert table had dozens of other options. Knowing this about our family, my grandmother made sure they were never absent from our holiday celebration. These cookies stand for tradition, but they show love to the ones with whom you choose to share them.

Honey Cookies

One day I imagine I'll pass these cookies down to my own children. They are a part of me and my family. Recipes like this one and the others that define my German heritage make up a few of the roots that lead to my family tree. I can only hope these cookies may find their own place in your family's traditions.

What recipes have been shared or passed down through the generations in your family?

Honey Cookies Honey Cookies Honey Cookies

These soft Honey Cookies embrace the comforting flavors of fall—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and anise. The spices come together beautifully and the addition of sour cream make these cookies soft to the touch and to the taste. An anise glaze may be added for a touch more flavor and a hint more sweetness. These are perfect for snacking and sharing, especially around the holiday season.

One Year Ago: White Chocolate Saffron Truffles

Honey Cookies

Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies

1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 heaping teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup black coffee
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large saucepan, bring the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and anise extract to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the butter and coffee. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature before adding the eggs, sour cream, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir well. Mix in the flour to form a soft dough. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a heavily floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. You may need to work in up to 1/2 cup flour to prevent dough from sticking. Cut out 2 inch round cookies, re-rolling dough as needed. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned and puffed. Cool completely before glazing.

Anise Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
2 teaspoons heavy cream, plus extra if needed

In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, anise extract, and heavy cream. If glaze is too thick, add more cream 1 teaspoon at a time until glaze is spreadable. Spread glaze onto cookies and allow to rest for a few minutes for glaze to set before serving.

Honey Cookies

Reader Comments (19)

These sound lovely. I adore honey and haven't made a honey cookie yet! Thanks!
My favourite recipes are the ones with history, that have been handed down through generations and hold fond memories as well as tasting delicious. We've made the same chocolate birthday cake in my family for years, and my other favourite is a rock bun recipe passed down from my granny which brings back the memory of childhood like nothing else. Your cookies look gorgeous - I love the little bows tied round, it makes them look so snug!
12.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
What an honor that you would share such a well-loved family recipe with us humble readers. They sound delightful! We have an anise biscotti cookie we make every year with my grandmother on the day after Thanksgiving. Tradition is good.
12.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire
These look fantastic! And even more so because of the history. I've been obsessed with recreating all of my grandmother's recipes, because she's notoriously but unintentionally secretive about them ("here's a partial list of ingredients - then, you know, just make cookies"). Her chocolate chip cookies are etched in my mind forever, and after years I finally got them right!
12.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBowen
Wow I've never seen a cookie recipe like this. I must try. We have a few recipes that have been passed around like this. My family is full of great cooks and has been for generations.
Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe with us !! Unfortunately on my side there's no such thing :-((
Can't wait to give it a try !
12.8.2011 | Unregistered Commenterargone
A precious secret you just let it go!
12.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Wow! The cookies look lovely!
Greets from BIGFATCOOK!!!
12.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBigFATcook
Never seen anything like this! They are so perfect looking, they almost don't look real :) Really interesting combination of ingredients, especially coffee. The description also sounds great--I love soft cookies and prefer them to really crunchy ones. Another keeper, Kristin!
I love anything with honey, and these sound perfect and they look perfect. I want to eat mybe like 5 of these right now :) It's nice that you have recipes that are handed down, I don't have any, but I've found some really nice recipes that I hope will become holiday traditions I can pass down when I get married and have a family.
12.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
We traditionally share shortbread cookies, keverlings and fudge. These are treasures shared only with family and have come to us from the Grand parents' Grand parents.
12.11.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia
Interesting technique and cookie. I made these this afternoon as a bar cookie. There is a lot of dough and it spread thin in an 18 x 12 cookie sheet...twice. I didn't have time to refridgerate the dough, but it still baked up nicely. I found the texture to be almost sweet bread like, and I wonder how it would do in a loaf pan.

I have a similar gingerbread recipe that we've been making for years. The technique is similar to this in that it starts on the stove with sugar and molasses and spices. There only soda in it though and no sour cream. The texture is quite different, and I was pleasantly surprised by that.

My mom's specialty is peanut butter roll candy (no potatoes in that dough), and she makes about 10 runs of it every Christmas and a couple other times a year. It gets scarfed up at every occasion.
12.11.2011 | Unregistered CommenterShan
Hi..this is a lovely recipe but do you think I can substitute the sour cream with thick yoghurt? The replacement works fine in a lot of other stuff. Thanks!
12.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane
We've passed a recipe down for Welsh cookies - as well as the small cup that has Egyptians on it to cut them out! And don't you dare cut out Welsh cookies with anything else!
12.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany
Making these cookies today for Christmas! Thank you for the recipe!
12.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
Tried these a few days ago and they were a hit! Awesome cookie that just hits the spot on substantial texture and melt in your mouth sweetness without being too buttery! Thank you for the recipe!
02.12.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeesKnees
These sound amazing! One question: should the coffee be hot or cold? Has anyone made these yet? Did you use hot or cold coffee?
04.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
Katie-- It doesn't matter if the coffee is hot or cold when it's added to the hot liquid base. Either works just fine.
04.5.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I done this recipe with a litle variation, the succes was not the espected, but I liked. May be you find the mistake in my own.
Hope like you

Have a nice rest
09.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCocco

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