1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup clover honey or other mild honey
Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
GLAZE: 1 egg white beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Combine the butter and honey in a large saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove saucepan from the heat. Stir in orange zest and let stand until mixture cools to room temperature.
Meanwhile, thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside.
Separate one of the eggs and set the white aside in a small bowl. Add egg yolk and 2 eggs to the cooled honey mixture and beat with a wooden spoon. Stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours or up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Grease baking sheets and set aside.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. If it seems too stiff to roll out, knead briefly to soften slightly. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick, dusting rolling pin frequently with flour and lifting the dough to make sure it isn’t sticking.
Use a 2 1/4 inch plain round cutter or the rim of a small drinking glass, cut out the cookies. Transfer them to greased baking sheets with a spatula, spacing about 2 inches apart. Gather and re-roll dough scraps and continue cutting out cookies until all the dough is used. (If the dough is too soft and sticky to roll out, refrigerate it briefly.)
In a small bowl, beat together the reserved egg white and 2 teaspoons water with a fork. Using a pastry brush or a paper towel, evenly brush cookie tops with the wash.
Place cookies in the center of the oven and bake the cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or until nicely browned all over and just slightly darker at the edges. Remove baking sheets from the oven and let cookies stand 1 minute. Immediately transfer to wire racks and let stand until cooled completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Freeze for longer storage. Makes 35 to 40 (2 3/4 inch) cookies.
Hints from Mary Lou, VP Heritage and Culture:
Do make sure they are 1/4” thick. These cookies are thick, cake-like and homey.
Use the same name brand cookie sheets otherwise the baking time will vary.
Opening and closing the oven door to check on cookies is not the best!!
Always purchase two of the same baking pans/sheets.
I like to bake one pan at a time, when a sheet comes out, the other goes in. It makes for better baking.