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How to Make Spiced Medenjaci (Honey Spice Cookies)

Updated on September 14, 2012

The Original Edible Tree Ornaments

"in the raw" before they are frosted or decorated
"in the raw" before they are frosted or decorated | Source

Honey Spice - a little history

These cookies are traditionally made at Christmas time but can be enjoyed any time of year. The Croatian version of Gingerbread cookies, the name means Honey (Med) Spice (jak, as in strong).

The island of Hvar in Croatia is especially known for its Medenjac cookie recipe. There is another version, Paprenjak (Pepper - Spice) - and yes, they are spicier!

In the old days people used to save silver foil from their chocolate bars to wrap pine cones as a Christmas tree ornament.

Similarly, medenjaci (honey spice cookies) were baked, cooled, then wrapped in cellophane then hung on the Christmas tree, which was traditionally decorated on Christmas Eve. The cookies, of course, were eaten on Christmas Day or soon after.

With a nut in the middle

No, that is *not* their belly buttons...
No, that is *not* their belly buttons... | Source

Medenjaci - the Recipe

Cookie dough consists of

  • 3/4 lb. flour, sifted
  • 8 to 10 T. white sugar
  • 2 - 3 T. honey
  • 5 T. finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • cinnamon, ground cloves and 1/4 t. salt


  • 2 egg whites
  • 7 T. powdered sugar
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

How to make Medenjaci

Mix the dough, cutting into circular shapes (by inverting a moistened drinking glass or using a cookie cutter). Arrange on a shiny and well oiled cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 180 C or 325 F.

The glaze is made by mixing on a low flame the sugar and eggwhite mixture, then adding lemon juice at the end when the mixture has gotten to be thick.

While the cookies are still warm, spread the glaze on the cookies and let them dry and harden.

You may put them back in the oven at the lowest temperature to have the glaze harden evenly.

The honey - spice - lemon combination is simply out of this world.

Chocolate Glaze

The Chocolate and spice combo is too much for me, but they sure do look good, hm?
The Chocolate and spice combo is too much for me, but they sure do look good, hm? | Source


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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      @Arlene, Glad you liked the history! If you ever go to a Croatian gift shop, you'll probably see red heart shaped medenjaci disguised as gingerbread cookies with lots of white swirly writing on them. These are them! :)

      @Alocsin, I hear ya. Didn't know what I was missing until I tried them. My kids don't forget either ("hey Mom are you going to make those cookies....")It's Christmas time, so why not make a few homemade goodies...

      @Helen, I would recommend you buy a pound of flour and then pour 3/4 of the package into a bowl. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Merry Christmas everyone - and let me know how the cookies turned out!

    • profile image

      Helen Kingsley 6 years ago

      How to convert the flour measurement from pound to cup? I'd like to try this recipe.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I should stop reading about these wonderful recipes. I always get hungry for whatever is being made. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      What an interesting history to these cookies, and I did enjoy reading everything about about them. Bookmarked, voted up, and all that. I wouldn't mind trying out the recipe. It could be another Christmas favorite for me.