BRAUNE KUCHEN

These cookies will be ready to bake about three weeks after you make the dough. Both the lemon-rosewater blend and the simple syrup can be made the night before you mix the dough. You may need a scale to make this recipe, as the Walls make a big batch that is mostly measured in pounds. Either light or brown dark sugar will work, but the Wall family prefers dark. While it’s tempting to use sliced almonds as a shortcut, the Wall family says they’ve tried that, and it doesn’t result in the same nice crunch.

Makes at least 12 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie

2 lemons, including peel but not seeds, sliced fine and chopped

4 ounces rosewater

4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 pounds dark brown sugar

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

6 pounds flour

3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 1/4 teaspoons cardamom

1 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 pounds almonds, chopped roughly

1/2 pound citron, chopped fine

Milk or water-maple syrup wash

Colored sugar or sprinkles, for decorating

Combine the sliced lemons and rose water in a pot and cook at a medium simmer on the stovetop until the mixture reaches a soft, soupy consistency. Set aside.

Combine 2 cups water with the granulated sugar in a pot on the stove and boil until the contents are clear. Cool the simple syrup and set aside.

Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a large stone crock or stainless steel pot.

Line up all the wet ingredients together – the lemon–rosewater, the sugar syrup, the cream and the milk. Line up all the dry ingredients together – the flour, baking soda and spices, also the almonds and citron.

Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately to the crock, mixing with each addition. The dough should be thick, like a wet bread dough, when it’s finished.

Store the dough in the crock. Cover the surface with foil or wax paper, then a dish towel or other cloth. Let the dough season in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick or slightly more – if you roll it too thin, the cookies will be brittle. Cut the cookies into shapes with cookie cutters. Brush them lightly with milk, or water blended with a little maple syrup, then decorate with either colored sugar or sprinkles.

Bake on greased cookie sheets for 8 to 10 minutes. They’re done when they spring back after a gentle touch, or a toothpick inserted into the cookie comes out clean. Transfer to cooling racks to cool.

The dough will keep for several months as long as it remains cool and is carefully covered. Baked cookies can be stored a week to 10 days in a closed container.