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.
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml 4 oz / 115 g butter, softened
- 2/3 cup / 160 ml brown sugar
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml honey
- 1 egg
- 2 cups / 500 ml flour
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml baking soda
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml ground white pepper
- 1/2 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 1/8-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.