There is a honey cookie recipe that has been in our family for ages. We have many memories of making (and eating) them around the holidays. They are made with Buckwheat honey so they have a nice rich molasses flavor to them. Our mom would roll them in sugar and push a walnut into the top before baking, to add a nice crunch to them.

So, when we were deciding on what to make for Easter this past year we decided we wanted to make these! Tia had never attempted to make these on her own and I had only made them once, several years ago. We decided these were something easy to make ahead of time, but alas we embarked on what would be a disastrous honey cookie journey!

The recipe required cooking the honey with sugar until it was dissolved and then (after it cools a bit) adding it to the dry ingredents. The resulting dough was sticky, gooey and impossible to work into a ball – yet we pressed forward. Mom assured us that we were doing things correctly, but also noted that they were a finicky cookie and warned us not to overcook them – even by a minute – because they will turn into rocks.

Half of this batch turned into rocks… the other half spread so much in the oven that they were 4-5 inches across, bumping into one another on the pan, but yummy. We decided we must have done something wrong. We tried again, this time making sure the dough cooled thoroughly before trying to bake them. Ultimately, we had very similar results causing us to shelve the idea of serving these at our Easter feast.

After Easter we had some time to stew over our failure, and my baking gears started turning – churning out a new, improved honey cookie recipe. We wanted to pay homage to the original recipe, so we tried to keep the ingredients consistent. We tweaked the ingredient amounts and process to the point where we were able to produce a consistent and delicious cookie!

You can make these as a plain cookie,  the traditional way with a walnut pressed into the top, or you can try the way we ended up enjoying the most – rolled in chopped walnuts and sugar before baking. If you like a chewy cookie bake them for about 10 minutes instead of 12, until the bottoms are golden, but the top is still pale. We like them both ways chewy and crunchy!

Honey Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yields: 24+
Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside! Add chopped walnuts to the tops or press a whole walnut into the center of each cookie for extra crunch and decoration. And don't forget rolling them in a little sugar!
  • ½ cup shortening, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buckwheat honey
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (optional)
  • walnuts (optional)
  1. In an electric mixer cream together shortening, butter and sugars until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  2. Add eggs one at a time, allowing them to incorporate and for the mixture to become fluffy again.
  3. Add vanilla and honey and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture to honey mixture, mixing until just combined.
  6. Place cookie dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Dough will still be sticky after chilling, but it will be a little easier to handle.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. While cookies chill, prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Roll balls of cookie dough in granulated sugar and press chopped walnuts into the top or press one whole walnut into the center of each cookie.
  9. Bake for approximately 12 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, until they turn golden brown.
  10. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes after removing from oven before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
If you do not have a cookie scooper you can use a spoon. Or, it may be a good idea to transfer dough to saran wrap and roll it into a log before chilling. You can then pinch off cookie dough balls or slice into circles.