Those of you who are my faithful readers and know I write about the vintage Sphere magazine each month, may remember the mushroom cookie recipe from the December 1972 issue I wrote about last Christmas. The mushroom cookie, officially named “Lithuanian Grybai,” is one of my most requested cookie recipes. Not only do they taste wonderful, but as you can see they are completely adorable!
I couldn’t resist writing about them again because I received a letter from Gillian, one of my readers who turns out to be the master of the mushroom cookie. She wrote me that every year her family and friends patiently await their gift bags of the cookies. They know what’s coming. Deliciousness. Fun. Happiness. They are different from other Christmas cookies, and you can easily see how much love and work go into each and every one of them. But Gillian loves every minute of it. She says she has been making the cookies for so long, they are know considered a part of her identity!
Wouldn’t you love receiving a bag of these every Christmas?
These incredible cookies take some time to make but are worth the effort. The first step is to bake the caps and stems separately, then attach them together with icing.
The caps are iced and sprinkled with poppy seeds, then set aside to dry. The cookies will keep about 6 weeks in an airtight container or in a freezer about 3 months. However, I have never known them to last that long.
Thank you, Gillian, for sharing your photos and your story. I am looking forward to hearing how many you made this year. Your friends and family are so lucky to have their own cookie master. Wish I lived near you…
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
- 2-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- Frosting (recipe follows in instructions)
- Poppy seeds
- Heat honey in large saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles around side of pan. Remove from heat; stir in sugars, butter, egg, spices, and peels.
- Measure flour, baking soda, and salt into mixing bowl; stir in honey mixture alternately with with sour cream. Turn onto lightly floured board; knead until dough is easy to handle and not sticky, about 5 minutes. (dough should be firm enough to hold impression of finger). Allow dough to rest 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Make mushroom "stems" from one part. Shape into 2 rolls, each 25 inches long and about ⅜-inch in diameter. Cut into 1-inch lengths, reshaping ends of each "stem" if necessary. Place 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until firm, about 7 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
- Make same amount of "caps" as "stems." Form "caps" by shaping dough into ¾-inch balls. Make indentations about ¼ inch deep on one side of each with round handle of wooden spoon. Place indented side down 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until cookies are light brown on bottoms, about 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
- Enlarge the indentations in "caps" with a grapefruit knife or small pointed knife. Dip one end of each "stem" into frosting and insert into "caps." Dry mushrooms cap side down.
- When dry, dip each mushroom into frosting (see below), completely covering "cap" and underside of "cap," or covering "stem" and underside of "cap." (see photo) Allow excess of frosting to drip into bowl. Sprinkle frosted parts of cookie with poppy seeds. Lay on side on waxed paper to dry. Dry cookies completely before storing in airtight containers. Flavor mellows after 3-4 days. Store at room temperature no longer than 6 weeks, or in freezer no longer than 3 months.
- For Frosting: Mix together 2 cups confectioner's sugar and 1 Tablespoon water. Stir in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating well after each addition until of dipping consistency.