Friday, December 2, 2022

Honey Gingerbread Cookies

It's never too early for gingerbread cookies, especially when it's the special request of a certain 5 year old! These soft and chewy cookies are made with brown sugar and honey with a hit of warm spices from @selefina.spices . Glazed with a simple icing sugar mix and topped with as many sprinkles as you like, they're a great after school snack.

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My niece and I love to get into the kitchen and bake once a week or so, and with the holidays fast approaching she has been asking for gingerbread. For the first time in probably a decade, I did not have any molasses on hand, so I took a leap and decided to try swapping honey in for it instead. The honey swap served two purposes - one, it was a liquid sweetener, so the properties of a liquid sweetener stayed the same (read: soft and tender cookies) and two, honey is sweeter than molasses so it made the cookies a little less bitter and spicy than standard gingerbread.

Speaking of spices, I had access to some super-fresh, fragrant ones from Selefina Spices - including whole nutmeg. My niece got to smell what they really are supposed to smell like, compared to the spices we have in the pantry which are maybe a year or two old, if not older. The learning continued with the exploration of what nutmeg is and what it looks like inside, which is honestly such a beautiful picture:

Ever wondered where nutmeg comes from? It's actually a seed from an evergreen tree called Myristica fragrans! Whole, nutmeg is pretty boring in appearance - it looks like a small Walnut- but once you grate into  it a beautiful pattern emerges! My niece says it looks like a brain! Thank you again to Selefina Spices for this beautiful spice!

Making the dough was also a learning experience in measuring by weight, how flaxseed soaks up water, and how butter beaten with sugar can turn it into something really fluffy. The hardest part was waiting for them to cool enough to glaze and decorate - the above cookies got the liberal sprinkle treatment from the 5 year old, and more than a handful of sprinkles disappeared into her mouth in the process! 

 Even if you aren't making these as a teachable moment, you can't go wrong with these cookies - they are tender, chewy and just spicy enough, and are just as good plain as they are decorated in the manner of your choosing. They also hold their shape beautifully when baking, which is a huge perk if you're going for presentation!

Honey Gingerbread Cookies

Serves 12
2 oz butter, softened
2 oz brown sugar
3 oz honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
pinch nutmeg
1 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch baking soda
5.1 oz flour
Powdered sugar icing, if desired (I used this one from Culinary Hill)
  1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  
  2. Add the honey, vanilla, salt, spices and flax mixture and beat well to combine.
  3. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda and flour until a dough forms.
  4. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 350F.
  6. Roll out on waxed paper, parchment or plastic wrap and cut out with cookie cutters. Place cookies on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before glazing, or cool completely before frosting with royal icing. 

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