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Gluten-Free Russian Honey Spice Cookies (Pryaniki)

Being in an International relationship has brought me a cornucopia of wonderful different foods to try (as you may have noticed) and I have been missing a lot of these things desperately. So you know how it goes: husband brings home something from the "Eastern European" market and I get it in my head that I just HAVE to have this thing which he brought home - but since I cannot usually have it - I recreate it. Hence these delicious little spicy cookies!

Here is an interesting little tidbit: the word pryanik is from Old Russian пьпьрянъ, an adjective from Old Russian пьпьрь 'pepper' which makes it etymologically similar or related to Ger. Pfefferkuchen.

On a side note - I think these are traditionally a Christmas treat - so when I woke up this morning to 4 inches of snow, I knew who to blame!


For the cookies

1/2 cup hot, strong coffee

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups honey

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.5 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 eggs beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

4 cups Namaste Foods sorghum flour

1 cup Namaste Foods brown rice flour

1 cup Namaste Foods tapioca flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

For the Icing

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 - 3/4 cup heavy cream


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coffee, butter, brown sugar and honey until the butter has melted. Remove from heat to cool and stir in vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl sift together baking soda, baking powder, flours and xanthan gum. Set aside.

  3. Pour the coffee mixture into the a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in vinegar and beaten eggs.

  4. Gradually add the flour in 1 cup increments, being sure to scrap the bottom and side of bowl in between additions until all the flour mixture has been added.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

  6. Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and divide dough into walnut sized portions. Roll between your palms to make a ball shape. Space evenly on the cookie sheets (they will spread out and rise quickly) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until they are golden brown on the bottom.

  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

  8. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and heavy cream until it is the consistency of buttermilk. Dip the top of each cookie in the icing and allow to dry for at least an hour.

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