Russian Pryaniki are irresistible honey spice cookies that can satisfy any sweet tooth! The base of these delicious honey cookies is a simple caramel made with just sugar, water, honey and butter!
When we go grocery shopping, Viktor is always on the lookout for something sweet to eat with his daily tea. He’s also constantly expressing his dissatisfaction with the cookie selection available here in the states, which means that every time we come across a Russian grocery store, we have to buy these russian spice cookies or pryaniki (пряники) in bulk. While there were several stores carrying Russian products in Boston and even a few in Nebraska, we’ve spent the last month at a cabin in the Ozarks with no access to these gingerbread-like treats. So when we met a man selling jars of honey at a roadside stand a few weeks ago, I knew it was finally time to try and make my own pryaniki!
While you can find pryaniki filled with jam and even giant ornately decorated pryaniki in Russia, I opted for a simpler cookie that has Viktor hoping we never go back to the packaged version. Flavored with honey and spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, these irresistible spice cookies are crunchy on the outside, but incredibly soft and sweet on the inside. While I also covered my spice cookies in an easy glaze, you could definitely omit this step as these cookies are packed full of flavor!
The base of these cookies is an easy homemade caramel sauce made with just sugar and water and then enhanced with butter and honey. To make the caramel, heat the sugar and water over medium heat. While you can stir the mixture at the beginning of the process to make sure the sugar is evenly distributed, it’s best to not touch the pan once the mixture comes to a boil as stirring can cause the sugar to crystallize. However, if your caramel looks like it might be cooking unevenly, you can swirl the pan occasionally. Keep an eye on the mixture as it thickens and bubbles, as the caramel can go from light brown to burnt extremely quickly! Once the caramel turns a deep amber color, immediately remove it from heat. Next, add the butter and stir it vigorously to make sure it’s fully incorporated. Be very careful during this step and take care to keep your hands away from the pot as the caramel may bubble and steam when adding the butter. Finally, stir in the honey and pour your delicious caramel into a heatproof bowl to cool!
And if you’re loving this pryaniki recipe, make sure to check out our other favorite Russian and Ukrainian fare:
- Russian Honey Cake Medovik
- Sharlotka Apple Cake
- Beef Borscht Recipe
- Pampushky – Ukrainian Garlic Rolls
- Russian Pelmeni (Meat Dumplings)