I have to confess that I am incredibly attracted to recipes that are easy to make. I have a (constantly) strong desire to bake, and an equally strong desire to bake things that taste devastatingly good… but I am also like everyone else on the planet: “so busy”. If I can find a recipe that has just a few ingredients… or doesn’t involve the stand mixer, or doesn’t involve scooping out individual portions, well, I’m happy. Every minute saved measuring out ingredients equals another minute I can squander online.
So now I’ve oversold you on these Honey Bee Cookies. They are easy because they have just 7 ingredients that are probably sitting in your cupboard right now, which is a plus. (How crappy is it to be lured into a recipe and then read that you need something exotic, like maple sugar? I do that with my recipes sometimes, and for that I’m sorry. But I’m making it up to you with this one. And don’t hold the candied orange zest against me- I had some leftover in the freezer from my last Classic Carrot Cake batch- but you can totally skip.)
Yes, this recipe means that you need to use the stand mixer, and yes, you have to manually roll the cookies into balls before baking, but that’s okay because they are still essentially simple. (Go ahead and cheat with a cookie scoop if you really want to save on time.) And who doesn’t like honey? Really. Anyone?
Adapted from Esther Brody’s recipe…
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons honey (the liquid kind, obviously)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons OJ or milk
1 tablespoon candied orange peel/zest (totally, totally optional)
- In a medium bowl, stir flour and baking soda together.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the side of the bowl in between and then add the honey and vanilla, beating until smooth (1 minute or so). Add flour mixture and mix until well combined (it’ll be thick).
- Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm- at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape dough into 1″ balls and place about 2″ apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer immediately to wire racks to cool.
- OPTIONAL GLAZE: stir sugar and OJ or milk together, and brush over cookies. That simple. (See Tips below for candied orange zest.)
- Spray your measuring tablespoon with cooking spray (I always use canola oil spray) and the honey will drip right off and make clean up SO much easier.
- How long to hold the dough is up to you- it can wait in the fridge for up to 2 days before you get around to baking the little cookie balls. (Again- a good recipe is one that’s flexible enough to work around your schedule- like how I absolutely had to go suntanning the day I made the dough. The dough waited, patiently. Good dough.)
- Candied orange zest: in a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of both water and sugar to a boil, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add the zest of an orange (or use a vegetable peeler to peel the orange and slice into very thin pieces~ I always find this hard since the oranges are often too soft to peel, or my peeler is too dull?), and add it to the saucepan. Simmer (so turn the heat down to medium-low) for 8 minutes, and then drain and dry with a paper towel before sprinkling a tablespoon of sugar over zest.
- Flavoring? Okay, you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons of orange zest to the batter of these guys if you want. I have to admit that a peanut butter frosting would be really good spread on top (you know, the whole PB & honey on toast thing)- so take a few tablespoons of peanut butter, melt in the microwave for enough seconds to get runny, and stir in confectioners’ sugar to get a honey-like thickness- then drip on the cookies. I actually can’t imagine chocolate working with honey, but I’m willing to be stood corrected.
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