Although the holidays are just behind us, we still face a few more winter months. Nothing’s better on these cold days than a warm cup of tea and a nice, spiced cookie. In this spirit, I’d like to share with you my great-great-grandmother’s recipe for Holiday Spice Cookies.
My grandmother, like her mother and her mother’s mother, had a peculiar penchant for lavender. Every day she would pluck a fresh spring from her garden and tuck it into a buttonhole on her yellow knit sweater. She always told us, as children, that her mother did the same; however, her mother’s sweater was more of a chartreuse than a pure yellow. Her mother’s mother had a blue knit sweater, but did the lavender thing all the same. My mother hates lavender and won’t have anything to do with it, so she wears a black cashmere-blend shrug with no buttonhole to adorn. In any case, my great-great-grandmother enjoyed lavender and other aromatic herbs. She experimented with an unusual recipe that resulted in one of the most distinctive spice cookies I’ve ever tasted. The recipe is quite simple and follows:
- 1 cup cold butter
- 1½ cups baker’s sugar
- 2¾ cups cake flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2½ ounces food-grade potpourri
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Then, into a large mixing bowl, cut the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add the sugar, salt, and baking soda and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and continue to mix until completely blended. Now, slowly sift in the flour, mixing continuously.
Once all of the flour has been added, continue to stir for about 1 minute until the mixture is smooth. Quickly add the potpourri.
Continue mixing until the potpourri is completely integrated. Dough will be lumpy.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Then, spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly brown.
While cooking, prepare the glaze by whisking the confectioners’ sugar and water until smooth. Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes and apply the glaze with a pastry brush.
Once the glaze has set (about 15 minutes), enjoy with a cup of tea. Or simply place the cookies on saucers throughout your home for a freshness you can smell.
In an airtight container, these cookies will keep for about 1 week.
A note about the potpourri: Be sure to use high quality, food-grade potpourri. Most modern potpourri purchased from home stores is sprayed with chemical scents that are not safe for cooking.