There's no denying it: These are fussy cookies, but they are also impressive-looking and delicious. A spice cookie is glazed with a sweet icing, studded with a piece of candied orange peel and finally dusted with edible metallic dust -- but you can skip that final step and the cookie will be just as good.
Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours.
Storage Notes: The cookies can be stored, layered between sheets of parchment, for up to 5 days. Avoid using an airtight container; it will make the cookies soft.
Where to Buy: You can buy candied orange peel and food-safe metallic dust in kitchen stores such as La Cuisine in Alexandria.
Servings: 80 cookies
- For the cookies
- 1 cup rye flour
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the glaze
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Candied orange peel, cut into 1/2-inch dice (see headnote)
- 1/4 teaspoon edible gold or bronze luster dust
- 1/2 teaspoon vodka
For the cookies: Whisk together the flours, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat the butter, sugars, honey and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined. The dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a gallon-size resealable food storage bag and smooth it out with a rolling pin, filling the bag in an even layer of dough and sealing it. Alternatively, roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to a 10-inch square. Transfer the dough (still in the bag or parchment) to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
When ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Cut the bag open or remove the top layer of parchment. Trim the edges of the dough, then cut twenty 1/2-inch-wide strips with a sharp knife or pastry wheel, using a ruler to guide you. Cut each strip crosswise into fourths, for a total of 80 thin bars. If the dough begins to soften, refrigerate or freeze until firm.
Use a metal spatula to transfer about 30 cookes to an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Return the remaining cut, unbaked cookies to the refrigerator. If the cookies on the sheet are no longer cold, chill or freeze until firm. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges have turned several shades darker. Cool the cookies on the sheet for 1 minute, then use a metal spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies.
For the glaze: Set a wire rack over a baking sheet or piece of parchment paper.
Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, Grand Marnier, whole milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl until smooth. Because the glaze will pick up crumbs, you can divide it between two bowls and begin using the second bowl if the first bowl becomes too filled with cookie crumbs.
Tilt the bowl (to make the pool of glaze as deep as possible). Brush any crumbs off a cookie, then dip half of it into the glaze on the diagonal (lengthwise). Let the excess glaze drip off, then gently scrape the bottom of the cookie on the edge of the bowl to remove any remaining excess. Transfer to the wire rack. Immediately place a piece of candied orange peel on the glazed half of the cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Place the luster dust in a small saucer, add the vodka and stir to moisten. Dot the candied peel and icing with the mixture. (The vodka will evaporate, leaving only the dust.) Let stand until competely set, about 1 hour.
Adapted from "The Gourmet Cookie Book," by the editors of Gourmet magazine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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