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.

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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


Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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