Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elia's honey cookies

Sometimes in life you need simple things. Things that just make you feel comfortable, at home. If the known, the predictable, the ordinary did not exist, the highs, the peaks wouldn't be quite as interesting, would they? This applies to emotions but it also applies to the more simple things in life, like food. After gorging on Everything Cookies on a great sugar high on vacation, I feel the need to nibble on something a bit plainer, if you know what I mean. 

I loved every chocolate chip, every morsel of pecan, every raisin and dried cranberry I had in New York. I pressed each and every last buttery crumb onto my index finger and brought them to my lips, savoring the final hint of salty and sweet on my tongue. But now I am satiated and I want to rediscover the taste of home, the familiarity of honey and butter, the same gestures repeated time and time again. The routine of a less eventful yet just as satisfying day.

I need the sweet simplicity of honey cookies.

These are beautifully soft, chewy yet crumbly cookies. The are great savored on their own, but sublime with a cup of tea or a big glass of milk. They are quick to assemble and even quicker to bake. You can pretty much make them any shape and they are big and fat and satisfying. We usually braid ours or make them ring shaped. Your children will have fun helping you invent new shapes. So what are you waiting for?

I call these morsels of goodness Elia's cookies because the colleague and friend N who passed on the recipe: a) is Elia's aunt; b) got the recipe from her mother. Still not clear? Ok, N's brother (Elia's father) is an apiculturist. He makes a wonderful, organic honey from bees he raises in the countryside surrounding Milan (if you live in Milan, you should try it. No chemicals used in the process, local...). His son is called Elia, thus "Il miele di Elia" (Elia's honey). N's mother bakes the cookies using this honey named after her grandson, and so do I. Thus, Elia's honey cookies.

350gr flour
100gr sugar (I usually use brown sugar)
a pinch of salt
3 eggs (+1)
100gr cold butter
1 pack baking powder (16gr)
2 heaping tbsp honey

Mix the flour with sugar, salt, eggs, butter cut up into small pieces, baking powder and honey. Mix quickly until the dough is smooth. It should be a little sticky because of the honey of course, but if you have problems working the dough add a little more flour. Separate the dough into several finger-shaped and sized rolls of dough. Form rings or fold over into an inverted U shape and twist together. Place them on a baking tray, beat the extra egg and use it to brush onto the cookies. I never do this and they turn out great anyway.
Preheat your oven at 160°C and bake for 10-15 minutes but keep an eye on them. They go from golden to dark brown very quickly. Take out and let cool.


  1. I love honey. I use it many times instead of sugar in cookies, cakes and drinks. Organic honey is the best! I have a friend in Greece who makes honey and he sends us every so often a batch.
    Have a great 2011!

  2. These cookies are simple and beautiful! And yes... a nice change of pace from all the flavors you've been blessed/bombarded with the last few weeks! LOL!

    Cool how they got their name! :)

  3. MLEK - I agree, it is a great substitute. In this case however it is a flavor, since there is sugar in the cookies anyway. You can really taste it, it gives a rich, deeper flavor to the cookie.
    DD&W - They came and went quickly!

  4. Honey cookies remind me of when I was little so my mother must have given me honey cookies at some stage! They look wonderful! :D And you're making me yearn for another New York visit!


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