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Honey and spice cookies

Loosely based on German Pfeffernusse, these honey and spice cookies from At Home: Middle-Eastern recipes from our kitchen are somewhere between a cake and a biscuit. They deliver on flavour with a lovely mix of spice and sweetness. 

Makes 22–24

For the cookies

120ml/41⁄4fl oz/1⁄2 cup strong coffee

50ml/13⁄4fl oz/31⁄2 tbsp vegetable oil

50g/13⁄4oz butter

140g/5oz/scant 3⁄4 cup dark brown sugar

180g/61⁄4oz/2⁄3 cup honey

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg

zest of 1 clementine or orange

420g/143⁄4oz/scant 31⁄4 cups plain flour

1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vinegar

For the icing

200g/7oz/scant 11⁄2 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp pink juice, squeezed from raspberries, strawberries or redcurrants

2 tbsp milk

Put the coffee, oil, butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan. Mix all the other ingredients apart from the vinegar together in a large bowl.

Heat the honey-oil mixture until the butter has melted and it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinegar and then pour into the dry ingredients. Use a large spoon to mix really well until the dough is smooth and thick. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for about an hour.

Heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6 and line two large trays with baking paper.

Dampen your palms with a little cold water and shape the dough into 22–24 balls (each about 35g/11⁄4oz, give or take). Re-moisten your palms between each cookie. Set them on the trays with a little space (about 2cm/3⁄4 inch) between them, as they will spread when baked. Bake for 15–16 minutes until they dome up. They will still feel very soft, but will set as they cool on the tray.

Mix the icing sugar, juice and milk together to form a thin, pinkish icing. Place the cookies on a rack and use a teaspoon or a piping bag to cover the top of each with icing, allowing it drip down the dome. Leave on the rack to set entirely before removing from the rack and serving.

The featured recipe is from At Home: Middle-Eastern recipes from our kitchen