Game plan: You can bake the cookies ahead of time and freeze them for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, bring them to room temperature and roll in the spiced sugar.
This recipe was featured as part of our Holiday Cookies photo gallery.
- 1Sift all ingredients together into a large bowl; set aside.
For the cookies:
- 1Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt, allspice, and pepper into a large bowl; set aside.
- 2Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until finely ground, about 25 to 30 seconds. Add the almonds to the flour mixture and stir to combine; set aside.
- 3Place the butter, lemon zest, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fluffy and combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until incorporated and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds more. Add the honey and candied lemon or orange peel (or mixture thereof) and beat until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.
- 4With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing until just combined, about 1 1/2 minutes total. (Do not overmix.) Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.
- 5Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- 6Roll the chilled dough into 24 (3/4-inch) balls and space them 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, then rotate the sheets from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the cookies are very lightly browned around the edges, about 5 to 6 minutes more. (The tops will be soft, but they will firm up as the cookies stand.) Transfer the baking sheets to 2 wire racks and let the cookies sit until cool enough to handle but still warm, about 3 minutes.
- 7Drop the warm cookies into the spiced sugar, making sure to coat them all over, then shake off any excess sugar and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 8Repeat baking and sugarcoating with the remaining dough. Store the cookies in an airtight container, layered between pieces of waxed paper, for up to 3 weeks.