Monday, December 12, 2011
The texture is chewy when they are freshly made. But tradition holds that the flavor intensifies if you bake them two weeks before Christmas and store them in an airtight tin. That's where the second part of the name comes from, for they also become denser. And hard as rocks. Excuse me: hard as nuts. They're only as hard as NUTS.
Trust me they are well worth the wait. They aren't all THAT hard, they're full of good things, (honey, molasses, candied orange peel,) and they are easy to make.
Plan on 15 minutes to mix the dough, 2 hours to let it chill, and another 20 minutes to get them rolled and baked. (Chill overnight if that's more convenient for you.)
In a large bowl, whisk two eggs
add and beat in:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup organic sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Now combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Mixture will appear a bit dry and crumbly, but don't worry, this will change when you form the cookies with your warm hands. For now, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Then preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (165degrees C.)
Roll dough into little balls slightly bigger than acorns and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing about an inch apart.