Scents have the power to take us all kinds of places. What smell takes you somewhere else? Where’d you go?
Combine honey with the spices of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves along with sugar, butter, baking powder, a small bit of coffee and lots of flour one has the makings of a variation of the German Honey cookie. This recipe has been passed down from my paternal grandmother to my mother and onto my sisters and me. Once rolled out and cut then placed in the oven to bake the house begins to fill with the wonderful smell of the honey and spices melding together. The scent lingers for days, and one knows the holidays have arrived.
Each year at Christmas time as I am making these cookies, I am taken back to the house where I grew up. I recall helping my mom as she went through her routine to make these cookies. She would mix up the batch, roll out and cut the cookies, place on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to bake. It would be either a shared responsibility between my siblings and me, or myself alone to monitor the cookies as they bake and take them out of the oven at just the right moment, and remove from the baking sheet to cool. This process continued until the final cookie was cut and baked.
As the cookies were cooling, the traffic in the kitchen would be greater than usual. Those not assisting with the baking would make excuses for passing through and casually swipe a warm cookie for their enjoyment. In a stern but jovial manner they would be lectured by those baking on waiting for the cookie to cool but would protest the cookies taste better when they are warm out of the oven. And they would be right. They are also taste great after being dunked in one’s coffee.