they are very easy to make and let you be as creative as you want when it comes to dressing them up and are even a good project to make with children. of course, if you choose not to spend time embellishing, they can always just be baked plain.
you can freeze these small "cakes" a few days before the holidays, or any time of the year, and take them out as needed. one nice thing about these cookies is that they are not overly sweet at all and only mildly spiced — enough to please almost everyone.
to gild the lily, so to speak, the plain ones or almond-coated versions are sometimes dipped in a honey syrup. if doing this, then make your syrup with 1:1 proportions and quickly dip each and let dry.
petits gâteaux au miel
makes approx. 30
3 1/2 tbsp honey
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 c oil
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c oil
1 egg yolk + 2 tsp water
sprinkles of your choice
regular or coarse sugar
or 1:1 honey dip -- mix equal honey and water and boil 2 minutes.
preheat oven to 325 F.
in a large bowl, place the eggs, honey and sugar together. measure out the oil and set aside.
in another bowl, place the dry ingredients together and mix them.
blend the egg mixture well with a mixer. add the oil in a stream and mix until completely incorporated.
now add 1 cup of the dry ingredients and blend with the mixer.
add the rest by hand with a wooden spoon.
the mixture will be somewhat sticky and very soft.
line baking trays with silicone paper (parchment) or foil. if using foil, you MUST lightly oil the sheet.
oil your hands and pull out pieces of dough about the size of tablespoon. roll them into marbles. remember they will almost double in size so don't make them too large.
place them on the sheet with space in between (about 2 inches).
if using sprinkles:
then grab one of the balls and dip it in sprinkles. place them sprinkle side up back on the baking sheet.
if using sliced almonds:
make your egg wash and paint all the balls of dough with the egg. take several almonds and push them on the balls of dough. place as many as you can.
repaint the balls of dough with eggwash and then sprinkle sugar over them.
do not press down on either of the types you make.
bake for about 15 minutes only. remove to a cooling tray.
the almond coated cookies (or plain ones) can also be quickly dipped in a 1:1 honey syrup. you cannot do it with the sprinkles as they will "bleed". let them sit to dry on a baking rack.
the interior will be soft and almost cake-like, hence gâteau.