For some people, gingerbread cookies are like fruit cake – a tradition that’s unavoidable even if it’s not always welcome.
If you (like me) are not a huge fan, these Honey Spice Cookies are a perfect alternative.
They are traditional enough and make fine gingerbread people, so it’s possible your people may not even miss the old standby.
Honey gives these a light taste, with a spice combination inspired by Scandinavian recipes: cardamom, ginger, coriander and a bit of pepper. There is a touch of cinnamon, too, but it’s not overwhelming.
Cardamom is more expensive than the usual holiday spices, but a little goes a long way. I only use it at Christmas, which makes these cookies extra special in our house.
This recipe was adapted from one I copied out years ago from an old cookbook. I kept the butter, sweetener, flour measurements, but completely reworked the spices.
Decorate these with Royal Icing or your favorite cookie icing.
- ½ cup / 125 ml (4 oz / 115 g) butter, softened
- ⅔ cup / 160 ml brown sugar
- ⅓ cup / 80 ml honey
- 1 egg
- 2 cups / 500 ml flour
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml baking soda
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml ginger
- ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- Beat butter until light. Add brown sugar gradually (3-4 tablespoons at a time), beating well after each addition.
- When butter and brown sugar are mixed and light in color, add honey. Beat until thoroughly blended. Add egg and beat until completely mixed.
- In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cardamom, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and salt. Stir into butter mixture and blend until a soft dough forms. The dough will be sticky.
- Scrape dough out onto wax paper or parchment and form into a ball. Wrap in paper and place in a plastic bag. Chill the dough for at least 60 minutes before rolling. The dough can be made several days in advance.
- When you are ready to make the cookies, take dough out of fridge and let sit for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 176 degrees C. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Dust your rolling surface lightly with flour. Divide dough in half and place one half on rolling surface.
- Sprinkle lightly with flour to prevent rolling pin from sticking, and roll out to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Reroll remaining dough - try not to add more flour than necessary while rolling.
- Continue until all the dough is used.
- Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes, or until lightly browned. The cookies will puff up as they bake, but will not spread very much.
- Let cookies cool for one minute on cookie sheet, then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.