Some of you may recognize this Christmas cookie. Our moms and grandmothers went to some work mixing up their large recipes of spiced and glazed cookies, but once they were done and stored away in a cool place, they kept for a long time. In fact, I find they taste better as they age and they do not take up freezer space. Although a recipe for honey cookies with a quick glaze method has been posted, I though I'd share this one because it does not use baking ammonia and gives you the option of a boiled glaze. This recipe is cut in half already to make it more user friendly. It still makes 8 dozen.
- 3/4 cups butter, room temp
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cups sour cream
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- Beat butter, gradually adding sugar, then honey, eggs and sour cream, beating well after each addition.
- Mix baking powder, soda and spices into some of the flour and add to wet ingredients
- Continue adding flour 1 cup at a time (this can be done in a kitchen machine with a dough hook) until mixed thoroughly. Dough will be on the soft side, like a cookie batter.
- Pat top smooth with spatula and refrigerate overnight or up to a few days.
- Lightly grease and flour aluminum cookie sheets. Tilt cookie sheets and tap end to distribute the flour evenly.
- Divide dough into quarters. Dust rolling mat or counter with flour. Taking one quarter portion at a time, using both hands, roll into a thick, 24 inch long roll, then cut into 1 inch slices and roll each slice into a ball.
- Bake at 375° F for about 12 minutes on upper rack of oven - no lower than center of oven. Check bottom of cookie for light browning before taking out of oven. You don't want to over bake them but you also don't want the top to sink.
- Cool on wire racks.
- Line cookie sheets with wax paper.
- In a medium sized glass bowl, beat egg whites until almost stiff. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, between low and medium heat, bring sugar and water to boil, stirring often. Once sugar has completely dissolved, liquid clears and bubbles even while stirring, set timer to 3 minutes. Continue cooking until you see only bubbles throughout as you stir and the liquid can drip off the spoon like syrup. (soft ball stage)
- With mixer on, slowly pour hot syrup into beaten egg whites and beat for about 3 minutes until thick and glossy when you lift the beater.
- Now, be ready to work quickly without distractions, because the glaze can dry on you. Scoop some glaze up in your left hand fingers to coat bottom of cookie and hold it in place. Scoop some more with your right hand fingers and coat top, smoothing with index finger. Cover the entire cookie with a thin layer of glaze and slide onto wax paper, not touching other cookies.
- Allow to dry on wax paper for several hours - may need to leave overnight if still tacky when you lift them.
Assessing glaze texture:
I thought I'd show you the goal of what the glaze should look like. When it's cooked the right amount of time it goes on easy, and dries smoothly.
If the glaze is cooked too little it will be easy to coat, but take a long time to dry into a hard icing. If you have undercooked the glaze, you will notice that it does not thicken as you beat it with the egg white. You may redeem it by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch and keep beating a few minutes more.
If the glaze is cooked too long, it will dry quickly as you are glazing the cookies. It may end up being grainy, making it impossible to achieve that smooth finish. It helps to moisten your hands. The taste will still be good, just not as easy to work with. It may me easier to start again, cooking a minute less on your next try.