Thursday, September 22, 2011

Canadian Honey Drop Cookies

Today I did what ended up being a cookie experiment. A bit of backstory first. Has anyone heard of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book? It came out in 1963 and was apparently such a hit that they reprinted exact copies of it a few years ago. It has great reviews on Amazon.com, which is where I saw the book. So many people had wonderful things to say about the book, I love old cook books, and I love cookies, so of course it piqued my interest. My dear cousin got married a couple of years ago and I gave the book to her for Christmas that first year. I'm pretty sentimental and imagined her and her husband and future kids happening upon favorite cookie recipes that they'd make together year after year. What could be happier than that? I love cook books but have a tendency to only make one or two from any given book. Because of this, I've decided to make one cookie recipe from the Cooky Book every month so I can familiarize myself with some of the recipes and hopefully find some favorites :o)

Anyway, I got my own copy of the Cooky Book recently and spent a couple of days looking through it, marking recipes I want to try and trying to pick one to make now. Let me tell you, it is HARD to pick one recipe from a book that has nearly 500! It's also interesting to see how cookie recipes have changed over time. Most of the recipes seem to have coconut, nuts, or some variety of dried fruit in them, and there were a few recipes specifically categorized as being "bland." Way to appeal to the audience, eh? Also there were only a couple of recipes for chocolate chip cookies but about fifteen for rolled sugar cookies. I guess maybe chocolate chip cookies have gained more popularity in the past 50 years!

Back to the point: In the end I settled on a recipe called Canadian Honey Drops. I don't get why they're Canadian and they aren't drop cookies, but the ingredients sounded delicious. Brown sugar? Check! Honey? Double check! Sandwich the baked cookies together with jam? Ooooh yeah! We have lots of wonderful homemade raspberry and currant jelly from my mother-in-law's friend. Sounded like a recipe worth trying to me!

Making the dough went great. It was quick to mix up and so easy to handle. Tasted good too :o) The recipe said to refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight. I went ahead and chilled it 2 hours but I don't think it was necessary since the cookies barely spread. They actually spread so little that I had to alter the recipe because the first cookies to emerge from the oven were almost an inch thick, as you can see:


Tasty (and not biscuity in spite of their appearance), but not exactly conducive to being made into cookie sandwiches. So I squashed the rest of the dough balls before baking them. Worked like a charm:


I did a few other tiny alterations and experiments that aren't worth mentioning except one, which was with the filling. The recipe said to just spread jam or jelly on the cookies but growing up I had many a school lunch PBJ go soggy from the jelly and didn't want my cookies to suffer the same fate. To fix this, I simmered raspberry jelly in a saucepan until it thickened up and spread that on the cookies instead.

After all this fiddling, the cookies turned out great. Rather plain to look at, but delicious. The cookie part is very soft and tender and not too sweet with a wonderful, delicate honey vanilla flavor. The jelly in the center is of course quite sweet and flavorful but doesn't overpower the cookie. The big fat biscuit looking cookies are good too, even without jelly. Definitely a winner in my book!

Here is the altered recipe for your baking pleasure:

Canadian Honey Drops

1 C shortening
1 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 C honey
1 t vanilla
3 1/2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1 C jelly of choice (I used raspberry)

To make cookies: Cream together shortening, brown sugar and eggs. Add honey and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Combine flour and baking soda in a separate bowl, then stir into sugar mixture until well combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate dough 2 hours (not sure if this step is necessary). Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, place on the cookie sheets 3 inches apart, and squish with the heel of your hand or the bottom of a glass until cookies are about 1/4 inch high. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool.

To make filling: Bring 1 C jelly to a light boil in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, let cool 2 minutes, and spread over half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.

Yield: about 12 good sized cookie sandwiches

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