Here is a marvelous cookie to bake for holiday gift giving. These must be made at least a month in advance to give the flavors time to mellow and blend, and for the texture to soften slightly. They are not brittle, so they are easy to pack and mail, but if you do keep them, you will find that they are lovely for dunking in a cup of hot cocoa, on a cold snowy day.
Yield: Makes 5 dozen
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup honey
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup water
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1¼ cups slivered blanched almonds
½ cup mixed chopped candied fruit such as orange, lemon and citron
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare 2 cookie sheets. Stir the egg and spices into the honey. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the water. Sift the flour with the baking powder and beat into the honey mixture. Fold in the nuts and candied fruit. Knead the dough until it is well blended. It may be difficult to handle, but the kneading will soften it. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for 3 days.
Flour a board and roll out the dough, a piece at a time, to a thickness of a ¼ inch. Cut the dough into cookies about 1 inch by 3 inches. Brush off excess flour and place on the cookie sheets. Bake them for 15 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack.
When the cookies are completely cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar with the water and spread some on each cookie. When the glaze has hardened, store the cookies in airtight tins and do not consume for a month or more.