Honey Jumbles

Honey JumblesThis is a cross-cultural cookie recipe that I baked for cross-cultural purposes. Honey Jumbles are an Australian packaged cookie that has seemingly been around for decades. They are the kind of cookie that adults reminisce about as part of their childhood memories. I had never heard of Honey Jumbles before I started reading Australian baking blogs, but was intrigued by their ingredients and long shelf life.

Honey JumblesHoney JumblesI collect honey recipes particularly for Rosh Hashanah baking. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, was this past Thursday. (Obviously, I don’t have the “plan ahead for blogging” skill perfected yet.) One of the traditional foods served at this time is apples dipped in honey, symbolizing hopes for a sweet New Year. The sweetness of honey is often added to other foods as well; honey cake, honey glazed vegetables, baked honey chicken. The possibilities are limitless. These Honey Jumbles are a great addition to my honey recipe collection.

Honey JumblesThe dates of the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur vary from year to year, because they are based on the lunar calendar. However, they almost always fall after the school year has begun, which for me means Rosh Hashanah college care packages. In addition to honey cake, apple chips, mini honey bear, and an apple, my care packages this year included Honey Jumbles.

Honey JumblesI have never had a “real” Honey Jumble. My descriptions are of the cookies I baked based on several almost identical recipes from very reliable Australian sources. The flavor is a cross between ginger bread and a graham cracker. Though I found descriptions online of commercial Honey Jumbles being cake-like, this homemade version is not.  The texture is  firm and chewy.

Honey JumblesOddly, I think, most of the recipes I found used golden syrup instead of honey. I personally love the caramel-like flavor of golden syrup and, though it is not widely used in the US, it is easily found in the syrup section of my supermarket. But if you aren’t going to put honey into a cookie, why name the cookie Honey Jumbles? Shouldn’t they be called Golden Syrup Jumbles? (Not to mention, there is nothing particularly jumbled about these.) I made both a honey version and a golden syrup version. The finished product tasted almost the same. The golden syrup dough may have been a tad less sticky and baked up a tad less dry. The most important step for both doughs is not overbaking. My cookies baked for 10 minutes were prefect whereas the cookies baked according to the original directions for 15 minutes were tough and overly chewy.

Honey Jumbles “Authentic” Honey Jumbles are iced pink or white for no reason I could figure out, other than those are the colors of the packaged cookies. Any icing that dries hard would work if using these for care packages. I iced mine with my favorite faux royal icing tinted in the school colors of the care package recipients. Never being one to leave well enough alone, I added a contrasting zig zag of icing, some of which I further embellished by dragging a toothpick up and down through the icing to create into a marbled design.

Honey JumblesThe internet is an amazing tool. Recipes from around the world are literally at our finger tips. What better way to celebrate the diversity of world cultures than to incorporate international foods into our own celebrations.  I enjoyed adding a little Australian accent to my Rosh Hashanah baking and our cookie jar! Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, Honey Jumbles stay fresh for at least 2 weeks.

Honey JumblesHoney Jumbles

Cookies adapted from Claire K Creations

Icing adapted from bakingdom.com

Makes 40 cookies

(Printable recipe)

Cookie ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar, packed

¾ cup honey (or golden syrup)

1 large egg

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup self-rising flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Icing ingredients:

2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar

2-3 tablespoons milk (adjust for thicker or thinner icing)

1 ½ tablespoons corn syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Food coloring

Directions:

  • Put butter, brown sugar, and honey in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Return to microwave for another 45 seconds-1 minute until melted and smooth.
  • Pour mixture into bowl of electric mixer and allow to cool (about 15 minutes).
  • Add egg and mix to combine.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the electric mixer bowl, mixing until combined.
  • Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form the dough into a disk, about 8-9” across.
  • Refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight, until firm and workable. (If the dough is sticky it is not cold enough.)

When ready to bake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cut the dough disc into 8 equal wedges.
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, roll each wedge into a log (about 12” long).
  • Cut each log into 5 equal segments (about 2 ¼” each).
  • One by one, place each segment on the prepared baking sheets about 1” apart, using finger tips to round the ends and slightly flatten the top surface.
  • Bake for 8-11 minutes until golden and just firm to the touch.
  • Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to cool completely on wire racks.
  • Mix icing ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and shiny. Icing consistency should be thin enough to spread and pipe easily but thick enough not to drip off the cookies.
  • If using more than one color, spoon a portion of icing into a small ziplock bag, add 1 or 2 drops of food coloring, seal the bag and knead to mix in the color. Cut a tiny hole in one bottom corner of the bag for piping.
  • Spread the base color icing onto the cookie with a knife. Decorate with piped icing.
  • Allow to dry and harden completely (several hours-overnight) before storing.
  • Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, Honey Jumbles stay fresh for at least 2 weeks.

Packing tips:   Double wrap pairs of cookies (with bottoms together) in plastic wrap, then place in an airtight container or zip lock bag.

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20 thoughts on “Honey Jumbles

  1. I love these! They’re so pretty. The feather texture of the icing is perfection. I’ll have to try these. And thanks for sharing your ‘faux royal’ icing. I’ve been looking for one that will work well and dry hard. Can’t wait to give it a go!

    • Thanks, Jeanne! I am going back to edit right now and credit the icing to bakingdom.com. I started using it because I was chicken of the real stuff, then liked it so much I never switched. On sugar cookies it ususally stays shiny. On these it lost its shine but shipped and stored well! The jumbles are great with any kind of icing. :) If you have access to Lyles Golden Syrup, give it a try. I do think that version were the best.

    • The icing makes this cookie, Jess. It keeps the texture chewy, adds just a touch of sweetness and a bit of crunch. The ginger-cinnamon is like a very mild gingerbread. They are the kind of cookie where you feel inclined to grab one (they are so little and innocent looking) every time you walk past the cookie jar!

  2. hi Wendy…. I always learn something new from your blog…. never heard of golden syrup. Once again you out did yourself in creating a beautiful looking cookie and the description sounds delicious. I hope this means we’ll be able to taste some at Break Fast….looking forward to it.

    • Thanks, Laurel! Golden syrup is lovely and is in the syrup section at Dierbergs and World Market. It has a light caramel-like flavor which I like better than honey or corn syrup in baking. It can be substituted for honey or corn syrup in baking but not in candy making. The burn temp. is too low.
      I had thought of serving them at Break Fast but they are disappearing unusually fast. The only way I will be able to serve them is if I make another batch! :)

  3. you did such a beautiful job with these! a honey cookie was on my list of things to do for the blog prior to Rosh Hashanah also, but as you can see, we both need to work on our “plan ahead” skills. :) I’ve seen a few things in some of my UK-based cookbooks which have “honey” in the title but use Lyle’s golden syrup in the ingredients…i wonder if it’s an ease of use thing?
    if there was a way to sign up for this particular care package, i would: it sounds wonderful. and i’m definitely trying this mock royal icing recipe; i have a regular royal recipe that’s my go-to, but i like options.

    • Thanks, Shannon! I am so glad I tried these. My son NEVER snacks on cookies (I have no idea where he picked up this annoying trait), but he keeps going back to the cookie jar for these saying how glad he is that I kept working on them until we got them right. Right involved way less time baking than the original recipe said and using golden syrup vs honey. I don’t know why, but the cookies taste the same as the honey ones but the dough is less sticky and the finished cookie is a wee bit lighter in texture. Can I say they are honey cookies for Rosh Hashanah if the honey is only in the name? :)
      This icing is just so easy to make and to use that I never took the time to learn how to make real royal icing. Maybe not for the blog but for myself, I really need to do that. Have you posted your go-to royal recipe?
      And care package sign up…..you have my email, sign up is available.:) I take my son back to college this weekend which marks the official start to Monday Box season. :)

  4. Oooo I love baking with honey. I’ve never heard of Honey Jumbles before! I studied abroad in Australia in college and the only cookie I remember is Tim Tams (which we loved). But maybe that’s because we were so obsessed with those that I didn’t give any others a try : ) I’m going to have to give these a go!

    • They are so simple but so addictive, Ashley. :) Just looking at the recipe I couldn’t understand why so many Australian bloggers would want to bake these. Now I know! :) Let me know what you think! I am off to google Tim Tams……….

    • Thanks, Jennifer! One of the coolest things about the internet, is that it makes the world a smaller place. I hope Honey Jumbles weren’t an Australian secret because the secret is now out! :)

  5. These are so pretty! They remind me of Easter. I love the flavor of honey – it has such warm notes to it that sound perfect with the brown sugar and spices you used. These wouldn’t last long near me!

    • Thanks, Reeni! I agree about the flavors, warm and delicious. These really were some of the best cookies I have ever baked.Tasty(mildly addicting, even), easy to make, and long shelf life……what more could you want from a cookie. :)

  6. The original Honey Jumble pre-dates the commercial version. The recipe I use from my mothers 1953 Coronation Cookbook calls for 1lb of flour and 1lb of honey. My family love them!

    • Susan, thanks so much for sharing your Honey Jumble knowledge! I love learning about foods and snacks from around the world. Honey jumbles caught my eye (and later my sweet tooth!) so I had to give them a try. Sadly, I have never had “the real thing” whether commercial or homemade. I only had the recommendations of Australian recipe developers to go by. :) I would love to try your family’s Coronation Cookbook honey jumble recipe! If you have time to email the recipe to me, wendysmondaybox {at} gmail {dot} com, I would stock up on honey and give it a go! :)

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