The first time I had these cookies was at a holiday party about seven or eight years ago. After biting into one, I found the hostess and started babbling about how great they are, how the spices are just right, and they are soft and chewy, and on an on. Now that I think about it, it's a little embarrassing. I mean, it's a cookie. These cookies are perfect to make and mail to friends and family or just to have sitting around during the holidays, since they require aging of at least one week and do well sitting in a tin for a month or so.
The woman who gave me this recipe is really...neat. I don't know how else to describe her. She is an emergency room nurse, and seems equally at home talking about grody emergency room stuff and the finer points of baking. Her husband is the kind of guy who has a special room to smoke his cigars and drinks hard liquor on the rocks and listens to old jazz records, in a classy, not a stuffy way. When I asked for this recipes she wrote it down for me on a little card which I laminated and dang-it, I'm glad I did since I pull it out every year. You'll do the same, I guarantee.
White whole wheat or whole wheat flour can be nicely substituted in this recipe, though I suggest you use about 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour for a lighter cookie. Chop, chop, chop the fruit peels; it's a messy, sticky business but worth it. I use almond meal in place of the chopped almonds. You'll notice this cookie has no oil or butter, so it's actually a very low fat cookie, though I haven't calculated the nutritional value. These cookies pack nicely in tins and can be mailed or just sit around your house for the holiday season. They only get better!
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dark molasses
3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup finely chopped mixed fruit peels
Lemon glaze (recipe below)
Beat egg in a small bowl on high speed about one minute. Add brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in honey and molasses. Stir together flour, cinnamon, soda, cloves, ginger, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add beaten mixture and stir by hand to combine. Stir in almonds and fruit peels. Cover and chill dough three hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough in half. Roll on a lightly floured board to make a 12" x 8" rectangle. Cut into 2" squares and bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and brush with lemon glaze while still warm. Age cookies in a tin for at least one week.
Lemon glaze: Combine 1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 Tbs melted butter, and 2T lemon juice. Add enough water to make glaze drizzling consistency.