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Russian Gingerbread Cookies (Pryaniki)

Pryaniki are a popular Russian cookie, often served with tea. These soft cookies have been loved for generations and they are a comforting and familiar cookie for the holidays! The rich gingerbread flavors are the perfect addition to your Holiday Cookie Tray.

Have you ever had Pryaniki? These fabulous cookies are soft and richly spiced, with a white sweet glaze. Also known as Russian Gingerbread and honey spice cookies, Pyraniki is an essential Christmas time cookie.

Pryaniki History

Although Pryaniki is commonly associated with Russia, it is more accurately an Eastern European traditional sweet baked good, with variations found in not only in Russia but also the Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. Pryanik which takes its name from the Russian word “pryany”, which translates roughly to mean “spicy” is often compared to gingerbread, and rightly so, the flavors are incredibly similar! Pryaniki has a long history in Russia, going as far back as the 9th Century, and because it was first created before the inception of sugar, pryaniki is traditionally made with honey, and often referred to as Russian honey spice cookies. With sugar readily available, it is often used in the place of honey in modern home-baked recipes, including this recipe!

Pryaniki is served most often as a snack with tea or coffee, but the warm flavors of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are perfect for the holidays!

How to Make Pryaniki

Pryaniki is very easy to make!

  • Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together 1 egg yolk and 1 cup brown sugar until well blended, then whisk in 1 cup sour cream.
  • Mix baking soda and white vinegar in a ramekin and stir. It will foam, stir into batter.
  • Add salt, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg, to the batter, and whisk until well blended.
  • Remove the whisk attachemnt and put the paddle attachment onto the stand mixer. Add the flour to the batter 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until it is incorporated before adding more. The dough will be very sticky.
  • Scoop a rounded teaspoon of dough into well-floured hands and roll into 1” balls.
  • Space balls evenly on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350˚F for 20- 25 minutes or until barely golden around the bottom edges of the cookies.
  • Make the Glaze while the cookies are baking, and dip the cookies to coat in glaze while they are still warm from baking.

Making Pryaniki Glaze With Egg White Powder

The raw egg whites used in the Pryaniki glaze carries a very slight risk of salmonella infection IF the eggs happen to be contaminated. If you have a comprimised immune system you will likely want to eliminate that risk completely, which you can easily do by using pasteurized whites, which are available either dried or fresh. This glaze is made with egg white powder, and is identical to a glaze made with fresh egg whites, without any of associated risks.

How to Store Pryaniki

Pryaniki keep very well, and honestly the flavors are better that day after baking! You can store Pryaniki for at least a week in an airtight container at room temperature, or you can freeze them in an airtight container or ziptop bag for a few months.

Russian Gingerbread Cookies (Pryaniki) Recipe

Russian Gingerbread Cookies (Pryaniki)

Russian Gingerbread Cookies (Pryaniki)

Yield: 26 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 /2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze:

  • 4 teaspoons egg white powder
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies:

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachement, whisk 1 egg yolk and 1 cup brown sugar until well blended, then whisk in 1 cup sour cream.
  2. Mix 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp white vinegar in a ramekin and stir. It will foam, stir into batter.
  3. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, to the batter, and whisk until well blended.
  4. Remove the whisk attachemnt and put the paddle attachment onto the stand mixer. Add the flour to the batter 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until it is incorporated before adding more. The dough will be very sticky.
  5. Scoop a rounded teaspoon of dough into well-floured hands and roll into 1” balls.
  6. Space balls evenly on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350˚F for 20- 25 minutes or until barely golden around the bottom edges of the cookies.
  7. Remove from oven immediately to cool on wire cooling racks.

How to Make the Glaze:

  1. While to cookies are baking, In the bowl of a mixer, beat the powdered egg whites, and water on high speed with whisk attachment until foamy and tripled in volume .
  2. Reduce speed to low and add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla, mixing until well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. Increase speed to medium and beat another 2 minutes or until creamy and smooth (do not over-beat).

How to Glaze and Decorate:

  1. Once cookies are out of the oven and still warm, dip each one in the vanilla glaze, coating only the top of the cookie then set on a wire rack and let rest until glaze is dry.
  2. If you want to use sprinkles, apply right after the glaze so the sprinkles stick to cookies.

Recipe Notes

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    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 26 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

    Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates. Please see my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

    Recipe lightly adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen

    Why I love this Recipe

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on Slavic cultures lately, mostly because I am beginnging to question my cultural heritage.

    If you are new here, my heritage is something we ponder occasionally here on the blog.

    I’ve recently started working on my Ancestry family tree again, and came across, an entry that said one of my relatives immigrated from the Ukraine, not Poland. When I looked back to my Great Grandfather’s immigation records, not only was Poland hastily written in his orgin country, but his last name was misspelled. Which made me wonder WHERE THE HECK EXACTLY IS MY FAMILY FROM?

    All of this conflicting pretty much means that no Slavic country is off limits in my genealogy searches, and all are invited to my tradional holiday cookie platter!

    I did order a Ancestry DNA kit, and I am very excited to see if that offers any clues!

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    Marcelyn

    Monday 6th of January 2020

    What a lovely recipe. I made it for my daughter and son-in-law and they loved it. That's saying a lot since he is from Russia! You are braver than I am to search out your ancestry through DNA. I'm just ready to take that leap right now. I do have family history on one side back to the 1200's in England including wills and church records on one side. The other side I can trace to Bavaria but it all gets muddled over there. Then there's the unknowns from Sweden.... I guess I'm just a good old fashioned mutt! Thanks for the recipe!