Kramer and I had grand plans to be lazy on Monday, our exciting day off. However, after a lovely breakfast of bagels and lox (that I am proud to say, I had the foresight to buy the day before) followed by an episode or two of House of Cards, we decided that we’d regret not stepping outside on such a beautiful winter day. There’s something about crisp, cool air paired with plenty of sunshine that just makes me want to get outside. We had started to watch a movie, but then called up our friend Matt to see if he wanted to grab an early drink at Harefield Road in Williamsburg. We all headed over there, and it was obviously meant to be, because did my eyes deceive me? No! They had a big, wonderful bottle of Pappy Van Winkle sitting at the bar. Now, it was only the 15 year, but still. It’s the nectar of the gods, I tell you. It tastes like melted butter, maple syrup, and caramel, all in one. It was unbelievably delicious, and I can only imagine how good the 20 or 23 year variety would be. I’ve heard about how good this stuff supposedly is, and I didn’t quite believe it, so I had to splurge and try it. I am now a changed woman. I just need to track down a bottle of the stuff so I don’t have to pay the crazy price tag that most establishments slap on it (although, rightfully so – did I mention how good it is?). Have any of you ever tried it? Where do you get your Pappy fix? Forget nice champagne or scotch. It’s all about Pappy Van Winkle, as far as I’m concerned. And don’t judge me! If I were talking about a bottle of wine, this would all seem perfectly normal, but just because it’s bourbon doesn’t mean it’s hipster nonsense, as I’m sure Liz Lemon would certainly pass this entire paragraph off as.
I feel like if you were going to pair a cookie with a glass of Pappy Van Winkle, it’d be these honey shortbread cookies. They are delicate and flakey, but still rich and buttery, so a nice, smooth bourbon would be an excellent pairing. Our friend Amanda was kind enough to smuggle back a bottle of honey from her family’s vacation home in Nevis, where I’m told they make fantastic honey. If this bottle is any indication, excellent is an understatement. This honey is just lightly sweet, with a caramely, nutty flavor that makes any baked good extra special. This is the browned butter of honey. I feel very lucky to have gotten my hands on it! If you are ingredient-obsessed like me, you know that good honey is not only expensive, but hard to come by. Anyway, if you can’t get yourself some of this sweet, sweet Nevis honey, then any variety will really do the trick, as the layers of butter that melt into one another as the cookies bake make them almost addictive. I can’t explain it, but Kramer and I kept going back for more. This is an odd thing for us to do because, well, I bake a lot and it’s just one of those things that you don’t usually feel the need to go crazy over because there’s always more where that came from. Not in this case; we each had two or three on the first day I made them, followed by one or two more the next day. I had to push them onto Matt and Amanda (hopefully they thought I did the honey justice), then made Kramer take the rest into his office to rid me of the burden of devouring the rest of them. If you’re not a heavy dessert person, then these little guys are for you. Just a touch of honey, the richness of butter, and the crispy, flakiness of those two combined. No chocolate or caramel; just simple tea cookies kicked up a notch.
So, your ingredients. Take some lovely honey from Nevis (or out of the bear) and add it to your cookie dough. Let it chill for 45 minutes to an hour wrapped in plastic, then roll it out between two sheets of parchment.
- 3¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey, plus more for brushing
- granulated or raw sugar, for sprinkling
- Whisk together 3¾ cup of all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat together your butter and sugar, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add in your honey and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in your flour mixture and beat until just moistened (it will be a bit crumbly). Bring the dough together into a ball, packing it together until it sticks, and wrap in plastic. Allow the dough to chill for 45 minutes in the fridge.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take half of your dough (and keeping the other half refrigerated until ready to use), place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment or wax paper, sprinkle the top of the dough with just a bit of flour, and place another sheet on top. Roll the dough out to ½-inch thick between two sheets, cut out, then place on parchment lined baking sheets. Heat a few tablespoons of honey in the microwave for just 10 seconds or so, and brush the cookies with the warm honey, followed by a quick sprinkle of sugar. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden and set. Allow to cool, remove from the sheets, and serve. These will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.