Last night, we had our church’s book club at our house, and the book for the month was Submerged, by Dani Pettrey. We were privileged to have Dani join us! We had a great time discussing the plot and characters of Submerged, adventures we’d like to take, and hobbies and interests shared in our families.
In the book, they have Russian gingerbread cookies called pryaniki, or pryanik. I decided to make them for the lovely book club ladies last night. I’d never had them before, and they were excellent!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
I substituted 1/4 t cinnamon and 1/4 t of nutmeg for the 1/2 t of cardamom.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
1. Sift the flour, baking soda and spices into a medium bowl.
2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and thick.
3. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over low heat until it liquifies. Stir the honey and vanilla into the beaten egg mixture.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients to form a stiff dough.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. Butter two cookie sheets. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use your favorite cookie cutter to make cookies, and whatever size your cookies are, use that as a guide for how far apart to place them, expecting them to double in size.
7. With a pastry brush, give the cookies just a little honey on top.
8. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until just golden, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking.
9. Cool on the sheets until the cookies firm slightly. Transfer to racks to finish cooling.
10. In a bowl, add 1-2 tbs water to the confectioners’ sugar and whisk together to form a paste. Decorate your cookies when they’ve cooled and enjoy.
A Cookie For Every Country is a cute website that has cookie recipes from all over the world. It provides information about the origin of each cookie; for example, “When trade first began with the Middle East and India (12th-13th centuries) these sweet recipes were kicked up with a variety of spices – popularly with cloves, ginger, citrus fruits, pepper, nutmeg, badian, mint, anise, ginger and many others and hence these cookies were referred to as ‘pryanosti‘ meaning they were well-spiced.”