“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell
I don’t know about you, but the chilly weather of late has urged me to bake a batch of simple, unsophisticated cookies. Something sweet and classic, but at the same time not too familiar to the tastebuds. So I settled for comfortable textures and distinct flavours. I decided on these melt-in-your-mouth, crisp and crumbly, oh-so-buttery cookies flavoured with a quiet but beautiful marriage of manuka honey and spice.
With a texture reminiscent of dainty shortbread and Danish butter cookies, I think these are the perfect cookies to celebrate a momentous occasion, such as the both of us finally completing our university degrees. That’s right, James and I have graduated! Well, my ceremony is not until July, but James had his a week ago. And while I won’t actually be attending my own ceremony (we’ll be out of the country, travelling for a month), I will be there in spirit.
The use of honey always leaves a subtle haunting flavour in baked goods. Combine this with smoky, aromatic cardamom and you get a dreamy blend that’s entirely perfect for homemade cookies. The butter in this recipe might be a little daunting to some, but you can’t have that rich, dense, crumbly cookie without some pure, unadulterated butter. If it’s any consolation, at least you don’t have to go hunting for eggs to get these babies to work.
Winter doesn’t seem so bad when you’ve got a stash of spiced butter cookies, freshly baked, waiting to be nibbled on in front of the heater. I suppose a small mug of hot cocoa wouldn’t hurt, either.
Honey & Cardamom Butter Cookies
adapted from Commonsense Baking | yield: about 36 cookies.
2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
a pinch of sea salt
200 grams unsalted butter, cubed
3 tablespoons honey*
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
* I used Capilano’s Bee Vital Active 5+ Manuka Honey. Not the good good stuff, but still tasty.
Preheat oven to 170°C and line baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, cardamom and sea salt. Mix well, set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, honey and sugar over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter mixture. Gently mix until just combined.
Using clean hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on prepared baking tray. If the dough is too sticky, slightly wet hands with water before handling dough. Dough may become dry and crumbly over time, making it hard to roll, so trust me when I say wet hands will help get the job done quicker.
Flatten the balls slightly with a fork or the underside of a glass.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.