2008-09-30

Sweetest New Year Cookies

L'shana Tovah!
When this girl from a family of Lutheran pastors decided to marry a nice Jewish boy, my future husband and I did a lot of talking about what was important to each of us and made some decisions about how we would raise any children together. That's when I discovered that the place that I drew the line was around my recipe box. Although I was comfortable exploring a different spiritual home, I wasn't willing to give up my family's traditions, especially the culinary ones.
At first, combining our heritages seemed easy. I found a Star of David shaped iron, and began making my family's Swedish Rosettes, which are cooked in oil, for Chanukah. I thought I had found my footing, keeping what was important from the past, while creating new traditions for my own family. Then my extraordinary child came along, and I discovered that the only thing harder than changing an entire year's worth of holiday traditions to compensate for his food allergies, was adapting the meals from two of them.
These cookies began their long evolution as a very old recipe for Lebkuchen, a honey based type of cookie, which is a distant cousin of both gingerbread and fruitcake. Citron has been replaced with apple, the egg and nuts have been stripped out, and I've added some lift to compensate for the loss of the eggs. They are delicious evidence that families and traditions do change, and that change is sometimes sweet.
Wet Ingredients:
3/4 C honey

1/3 C packed brown sugar

Dry Ingredients:

2 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C oat flour*

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

Additional:

1 cooking apple, grated

1 Tbs lemon juice

*if you do not have nut allergies, you may substitute 1/4 C ground pecans

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Core, peel, and grate the apple and stir in the lemon juice. In a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven, slowly bring the honey to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir the flour mixture into the honey in small batches. The dough will become very stiff, and you may need to place the pan back onto the still warm burner to help combine them. Once the the flour is mixed in, stir in the apple mixture. Place dough in a covered container, and allow to cool in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the glaze (recipe below.) Line cookie sheets with quick release aluminum foil (preferred) or grease the sheets (you'll be scrubbing them later). Put several ice cubes in cold water in a small bowl and get a wide bottomed glass. Using two spoons, drop dough by tablespoonsfuls onto cookie sheet two inches apart. Dip the glass into the ice water and use it to flatten each cookie. Bake cookies for ten minutes.

After removing cookies from oven, brush glaze on immediately with a pastry brush. Allow to cool on pan for ten minutes, then remove to cooling rack. It's easiest to just slide a cooling rack underneath the aluminum foil and pick up the entire sheet of cookies together.
Glaze:
1 C powdered sugar

1 Tbs lemon juice

3 Tbs water

Whisk together in a small bowl.

5 comments:

Nowheymama said...

What a sweet story! And the cookies sound fabulous.

Jennifer B said...

Thanks for another great recipe! Always fun to visit here.

Ricki said...

What a lovely way to celebrate both traditions in one! Happy New Year to you and yours! :)

Maggie said...

These cookies sound wonderful! It has been a challenge to adapt a lot of family recipes. From the sound of these cookies you're doing an awesome job!

shellyfish said...

Shava Tova! I love how you created these...
While our differences aren't religious, M. Fish & I have many different cultural and family tradition-al items to bring to the table. Raising our little girl bi-lingually and sharing all that we both have to offer is sometimes challenging, but it's so rewarding, and I feel like we are always celebrating something! I love it! I'll be making these to celebrate next year!