Christmas spiced cookies are an attribute of winter baking in many countries. Each locality has its own spiced cookies recipe
How simple honey cookies turned into Christmas spiced cookies
Europeans have baked sweets with honey for a long time. Of course, in the beginning, these were not the usual Christmas spiced cookies, but rather a kind of sweet flatbread made with honey, water (or juice) and flour. I am talking not about 100 years ago, and not even about 200 years ago, but about the times before Christ. Even historical written sources mention that honey flatbread. People liked it very much and baked it not only for holidays, but also on weekdays to enjoy it with a cup of tea (no… rather a glass of milk or some juice or water… because tea appeared in Europe only in the 17th century).
But time passed and the tastes of people became more demanding, simple honey cookies flatbread didn’t delight them so much anymore, they wanted to add something new to it and a variety of aromatic herbs came to the rescue (everything depended on the area – usually people added local aromatic herbs to these sweets; someone baked honey flatbread with thyme, somebody added basil to it, and others added mint). In a word, people were content with local products and did not look for exotic things.
And then spices raised the honey cookie recipe to the highest level
In Asia, spices have long been added to food, but for Europeans, spices were equivalent to gold. During the Middle Ages, spices were often used as money. For example, for one measure of black pepper, they gave the same measure of gold! (Yes, we are talking about the most common black pepper, which we add daily to both soup and sauces without hesitation). Of course, the monopoly in the spice trade was in the hands of traders from Arab countries. And, since, during the Middle Ages, the church was against trade with Muslims, spices came to Europe mainly through intermediaries (doubling or even tripling their value). Only Venice had special ecclesiastical permission to trade with the East, which greatly contributed to its heyday in those days.
Europeans were tired of “getting” spices in such a difficult way, by overpaying intermediaries. Therefore, Columbus decided to look for new ways to India. But something went wrong on the way, and instead of cinnamon, ginger and allspice, he brought avocado, cocoa and paprika (of course, these new products also became a real find, but they didn’t transform simple honey cookies into Christmas spiced cookies ..) the only novelty was that cocoa was often added to the honey cookie recipe). The sea route to India and spices, however, was discovered by the handsome Portuguese Vasco da Gama. It was he who brought cinnamon, cloves, different types of pepper, ginger and many more fragrant goods to Europe.
Of course, initially spices were exclusively the “pleasure” of rich people and the nobility
But over time, everything became easier and spices reached ordinary people. Someone (no one knows who exactly and in which country) decided to take a chance and add cinnamon, ginger, cloves and even black pepper to the simple honey cookies and in this way the new spiced cookies were born…
These new incredibly fragrant spiced cookies have become popular in Italy, Poland, and France. And in Germany, honey spice cookies have reached fantastic proportions!
These cookies were mainly baked by monks and nuns, and sold at holiday fairs (most often during the Christmas period). Over time, each country and even city has invented its own traditional spiced cookies recipe. Someone adds orange zest to them, some enrich the taste with nutmeg. Others pour melted chocolate over these cookies.
I have had my favorite spiced cookies recipe for many years
This recipe for Christmas spiced cookies is so successful that I wouldn’t exchange it even for a ton of gold (and in the Middle Ages I wouldn’t sell it even for a hundred pounds of black pepper… haha)!
The pastry is very pleasant and easy to work with, and the sweets turn out very fragrant.
I always make my favorite eggless icing (vegan royal icing, as my husband says) for these honey cookies. It perfectly complements the flavor bouquet.
Enjoy winter baking and let you be warmed not only by hot tea, but also by the love of your dear ones. And the aroma of cinnamon, cloves and other spices will give you a fabulous mood!
If you are a happy digital kitchen scale owner, I highly recommend using it instead of cups and spoons. Especially when it comes to baking recipes. A scale gives you far more accurate results than volume measurements (everyone scoops ingredients differently). Trust me, using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients will take your baking to a new level.
Butter. It should be at room temperature
Honey. Both runny honey and solid honey are suitable for this recipe.
Spices. I add cinnamon and ground cloves to these cookies.
Sugar. I add brown, but you can easily replace it with regular white
Flour. Use plain all – purpose flour.
Spiced cookies recipe
Put together flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and cocoa. Mix
Add butter and mix it with your hands until crumbs form
Add eggs and honey. Knead the cookies dough, form it into a ball, wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
Then take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator, roll it out to a thickness of ¼ inch (1/2 cm), cut out the spiced cookies of the desired shape and bake them for 15 minutes at 350F (180C). It’s very important to not overbake these cookies (the ready biscuits will be soft, but when they cool down, they will harden)
The vegan royal icing recipe is very simple – mix ½ cup + 3Tbsp (100g) powdered sugar with 2Tbsp lukewarm water, decorate the cookies and leave to dry
Let the Christmas spiced cookies bring a festive mood to your homes!
And for even more fun, make yourself some fragrant mulled wine. This Christmas drink and spiced cookies are two halves of one!
Christmas spiced cookies
- 7 Tbsp (100g) butter
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp (50g) honey
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp cocoa
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ cup + 3Tbsp (150g) sugar (I add brown, but you can easily replace it with regular white)
- 1 tsp (5g) baking powder
- 2cups + 3Tbsp (350g) flour
- Put together flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and cocoa. Mix
- Add butter and mix it with your hands until crumbs form
- Add eggs and honey. Knead the cookies dough, form it into a ball, wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
- Then take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator, roll it out to a thickness of ¼ inch (0.5 cm), cut out the spiced cookies of the desired shape and bake them for 15 minutes at 350F (180C). It’s very important to not overbake these cookies (the ready biscuits will be soft, but when they cool down, they will harden)
- The vegan royal icing recipe is very simple – mix ½ cup + 3Tbsp (100g) powdered sugar with 2Tbsp lukewarm water, decorate the cookies and leave to dry
- Let the Christmas spiced cookies bring a festive mood to your homes! And for even more fun, make yourself some fragrant mulled wine. This Christmas drink and spiced cookies are two halves of one!