Pryaniki are a popular Russian cookie, often served with tea. These honey spice cookies have vanilla, nutmeg, allspice and anise flavors, as well as the unique addition of coffee.
- 1/2 cup instant coffee
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1–2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon anise (ground or liquid extract)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve the instant coffee in the water.
- Add the butter, sugar and honey to the dissolved coffee in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat and cook, stirring, just until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves and the mixture is homogenous. Take off the heat, pour it into a large bowl. and cool for about 10-15 minutes.
- Add all the spices – vanilla, allspice, nutmeg and anise. You can also add cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, mint extract, etc.
- Whisk in the eggs, the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and baking powder. You will notice that the mixture will fizz a little when it’s all mixed up.
- Add the flour and mix with a large wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
- Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Shape the cookie dough into approximately 1 Tablespoon balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some room around each cookie, since they will expand while baking. I use a 1 Tablespoon measuring scoop to get the cookie dough out of the bowl and then roll it around in my hands. This will make sure that all the cookies are the same size and will bake evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Do not over bake, or the cookies will be too hard.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk to make a glaze. You can flavor the glaze by adding some kind of extract to it, like vanilla, mint, almond, etc.
- Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, letting the excess run off. Set the glazed cookies on a rack or parchment paper to dry. When the glaze is dry, you can flip the cookies over and glaze the other side as well. When glazing the cookies, work fast, since the glaze will be harder to work with when it starts to dry up. You can add a tiny splash more of milk to thin it out if it hardens.
- Store the cookies at room temperature in a sealed container.
You could probably use a mixer to make the cookie batter, but make sure to use a good quality machine, since this batter will be very thick and heavy and may burn out a model that isn’t very strong. The amount of batter is very large, so if you want to use a mixer, I would recommend halving the recipe. This recipe yields 105-110 cookies. Of course, you can halve the recipe and make less cookies, but we usually make Pryaniki around the holidays or special occasions, we always make the full batch, since we give away lots of cookies to others as well as enjoy them for many parties and events.
Storing and Freezing:
Another amazing thing about these cookies is that they are great to make ahead of time. The baked and glazed cookies store very well for at least a week or two in an airtight container and you can freeze them in an airtight container or ziptop bag for a few months. Simply thaw the cookies and they taste just as fresh as the day you made them.