I loved being an English major in college. The literature courses I took transported me to other worlds, times, and realms, forcing me out of my comfort zone and into places created by one of the kindest gifts God gave us – the written word.
I look back on those 4 years of classes with deep fondness. I refuse to give up the boxes of required reading that I bought. No, I will likely never read The Garies and Their Friends again, the fictional story of 19th century mixed-race couple living in the free North, but it reminds me of the African-American Literature course I took, and how it shattered a lot of my naiveté and successfully earned the spot at the top of my favorite courses list.
Near the top of that list was a World Literature course. It was the very definition of interesting. We studied a multitude of aspects of different cultures, both literary and cultural, that have influenced various parts of the world. Japanese Anime, the Quebecois language and culture, the Argentine tango… All of these obscure and interesting subjects.
It was one of those courses that had an ominous end-of-semester project hanging over your head from the beginning. My group was assigned Till Eulenspiegel, a German folk character (perhaps a real man) who was portrayed as a trickster, playing pranks on his subjects and exposing their vices. Don’t ask me to explain any more. My knowledge of the subject came and went with the Fall semester of 2010.
My biggest contribution to the final presentation was these cookies. The fact that they had “German” in the title was enough of the required authenticity for the project. Our professor loved them, happily munching on them in the back row amidst the spectacle of final presentations, catching my eye and saying, “These are dangerously good.” My desire for scholarly prowess flew out the window with that compliment… my cookies had successfully found a place in the academic world. Hand me the cap and gown, please.
I hadn’t made these since then. For the past 4 years, I would pass the rows of honey in the grocery store and wistfully ponder making these again, but to no avail. I’m not sure what changed in me this week – perhaps it’s the ever slow but sure changing of the season… the thought of cooking with something as sweet and pure as honey will surely spur on the arrival of those 2 weeks of Autumn that Texas gets.
To make these, you start with equal parts honey, sugar, and shortening, melt it down in a sauce pan, cool, and add enough flour to make the dough. Be warned, the honey flavor is very prominent. In hind sight, I should have resisted the Southern woman instincts in me to make each cookie the size of a plate. With their unique flavor, they are better in a smaller, tea-cookie size.
These would be adorable and fitting for a baby shower, wedding reception favor, holiday gift, or any literature class that needs an added boost of sugar.
German Honey Cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pure honey
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the first 3 ingredients together, and let cool. Once cool, place in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until combined. Add vanilla.
- Combine the baking soda and flour in a medium bowl. In increments of 1/2 cup, add to the contents of the bowl with the mixer running. Beat until thoroughly combined, resembling sugar cookie dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll dough into a golf ball size or smaller. Bake starting at 8 minutes (you’ll need more time the larger the cookie size). Cook until the edges are golden brown, and the center is set.