Honey Cookies for a Sweet New Year

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated with attending services, followed by large festive meals shared with friends and family.  One tradition is to eat foods made with honey, to represent a sweet new year.

Apples dipped in  honey is the easiest.  The second-easiest is store-bough honey cake.  As a fundraiser at my shul, "home-baked" honey cake is a big seller (actually shul-baked by a professional baker, but close enough).  So honey cake in my area is the equivalent of zucchini ...  except instead of leaving extra anonymously on a neighbor's porch, someone leaves it anonymously in the staff break room (you're welcome).  I don't know about you, but after honey cake at home, honey cake at friends and honey cake at the Friday night oneg (the nosh after services), I was honey caked out.

So I was thrilled to trip over a recipe for honey cookies from Lil Miss Cakes.   Made with oil rather than butter, margarine or shortening, these babies are soft and chewy when fresh, and stay soft and chewy several days later.  Make ahead and use all that freed-up time to relax.

Or to make a second batch, because you (and by you I mean me) ate most of the cookies the night before.  Turns out it is seriously very important that the dough be chilled before rolling and baking, otherwise the cookies spread out during the baking and fuse to each other ... and not in a good way.  While eating all the "rejects" can be fun (imperfect cookies have no calories, right?) you'll only have around 5 left for company. 

Not an efficient use of your time and honey.   So if the kitchen is very warm, leave the dough chillin' as much as a couple hours. 

Too thin because they chilled for only 15 minutes.

The original recipe calls for turbinado sugar for coating, but since I forgot to pick some up I just used more granulated sugar.  The cookies were still delicious.  Even the rejects.  Turbinado sugar has since been put on my list to pick up for next time.  Because there definitely will be a next time.

*UPDATE*  several Dear Readers suggested whisking a little ground cinnamon with the turbinado sugar.  I tried a batch this way and it is awesome!  The option has been added below.

Honey Cookies
Lightly adapted from:  Lil Miss Cakes
Yield: About 3 dozen 

2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2/3 cup canola or another neutral oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup turbinado (or additional granulated) sugar, plus more if needed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350F.   Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a 2-quart bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set everything aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat oil, honey, and granulated sugar at medium speed until relatively smooth, about 1 minute.

Add in the egg and vanilla.  Continue to beat for 30 seconds or until combined.

Add in the dry mixture and beat on low for 30 seconds or until incorporated, scraping down bowl with a spatula as needed.

Place bowl containing dough in the fridge; refrigerate at least 15-30 minutes or until dough is firm.  

Whisk turbinado (or granulated) sugar with the optional ground cinnamon in a small bowl. 

Shape the dough into balls around 3/4" in diameter.  Roll balls in the sugar, making sure balls are completely coated.  Place balls on prepared cookie sheets 3" apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are light brown.   Transfer cookies, still on parchment, onto a cooling rack.  Allow cookies to cool and firm up at least 5 minutes before peeling parchment off cookies (easier than peeling cookies from parchment).

Store cookies between layers of parchment in a tightly sealed container or a plastic bag for up to 3-4 days.