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Need more offbeat, actually tasty, cookie recipes to try.

Made a batch of Norwegian black pepper and cardamom cookies - doubled the amount of each - with good result.

What else can I make cookies with that's a little offbeat but tasty? Bonus points if it contains alcohol and you can explain to me how to make them without setting the oven on fire.

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  1. I've been on a savoury cookie streak lately - my favourites so far are curry shortbread cookies.

    But if you want to stick to the sweet, I tried a candied lemon and pine nut cookie a while ago. I didn't get the recipe, but the texture/flavour of the dough was like a cross between a shortbread and a digestive.

    1. Thanks - never mind the lemon/pine nut - would love a recipe for curry shortbread cookies!! (Or even, a brief suggestion of how to approach making them.)

      4 Replies
      1. re: Cinnamon

        That's the easiest thing in the world - just add curry powder to taste to your dry ingredients.

        Though one day I plan on experimenting with curry paste and coconut milk/cream in the wet ingredients...

        1. re: piccola

          Sounds lovely, thanks. I'll have to try a batch w/just curry powder and then one also adding Chinese five spice powder. :)

          1. re: Cinnamon

            ooooh 5-spice... good call. that's next on my list.

            1. re: Cinnamon

              David Leite has a nice recipe for sugar cookies flavored with Chinese five spice powder; http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

        2. I loved the Anise Cornmeal Biscottti from Claudia Fleming's Last Course. It has rosemary, orange zest, almonds and hazelnuts as well as cornmeal. Even my friend who is leary of odd combinations thought they were heavenly.


          1. I've got a rye cookie recipe that I hesitate to post because of copyright issues.

            Email me direct if you want it.


            1 Reply
            1. re: cayjohan

              What we are normally advised on this site is that its ok to post an ingredient list and then paraphrase the instructions - a formula - the list of ingredients - is not copyrightable.

            2. My family has a cookie that no one else seems to make. Once you make it you understand why--it's a lot of effort.

              Basic story, you make a meringue of egg whites and a lot of powdered sugar. You mix half of it with ground unblanched almonds, then roll out this dough and cut it into strips which you then ice with the remaining meringue. Actually it's easier if you ice, then slice. Then you bake them. Then you ripen them in a tin with slices of apple. The texture after a couple weeks is tender but crisp. We call them vanilla sticks. They seem to be native to the Germans who populated central Ohio. I look in every cookie and German and Czech cookbook I come across and have found the recipe so far in exactly one little pamphlet published in 1939.

              Note, these are *not* zimmtsterne which have lemon peel and cinnamon.

              If it sounds interesting and you would like the full recipe let me know and I will post it. Note, this recipe makes a *lot* of cookies.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Louise

                My German great-great aunt from German Village in Columbus Ohio used to make something like these.I lost the recipe, please help!

                1. re: Kriskoe8


                  I live in Columbus, and just finished making a batch of these very cookies (I call them "Vanilla Sticks", too), when I decided to get online and surf. I just happened upon this site - my first time here, and found your post in response to Louise. Here are the ingredients for about 70 cookies:

                  1 lb. unblanched whole almonds
                  4 egg whites
                  1 lb. powdered sugar
                  1 1/2 t. vanilla
                  1/4 t. salt

                  I toast the almonds at 350° F for 10 minutes, then finely grind them in a food processor, and set aside. Then I beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. I then add the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla, and beat for 5 minutes. I divide this mixture in half, reserving one half of the meringue for icing, and add the ground almonds to the other half. I generously coat my countertop and rolling pin with confectioner's sugar, and roll out the almond mixture to a rectangle that is 1/2-inch thick. The original recipe said to cut the cookies then frost them with the remaining meringue, but I find it easier to frost then cut them into 1x2-inch "fingers". Let them rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to greased cookie sheets and bake at 300° F for 15 minutes. Let cool on racks, then store in an airtight container. These are wonderful - light and crisp. I have never tried the apple idea that Louise mentioned.

                  1. re: ladams1221

                    This is the very recipe! Merry Christmas and Thanks!

              2. Where can I find the black pepper-cardamom cookie recipe? The most decadent ice cream I've ever tasted was black pepper-cardamom, and I'd love to try the cookies!

                Do you think I can add these to regular shortbread?

                2 Replies
                  1. re: mamaciita

                    This was the recipe I made:
                    Norway's Best Pepper Cookies
                    I doubled the pepper and cardamom called for and semi-toasted both first. The cookies are kind of shortbread-y, on the plain side and weren't too spicy with the doubling (to me).

                    You may also have fun with this page of recipes involving cardamom:

                  2. I know someone who has a spice cookie recipe with bacon drippings (a lot of them) if you'd like me to get that recipe!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      I'd like that one!

                      I'd like the one with pine nuts and candied lemon too.

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        There was a recipe by Kathy Horyn, NYT fashion editor, last year for Swedish gingersnaps that use tons of bacon fat. I have it saved somewhere.

                        1. re: welle

                          Here it is + notes from friend:

                          Swedish ginger cookies
                          From the New York Times magazine which took it from
                          The Trinity Espiscopal Church Recipe Book 1982

                          3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1⁄2 to 2 pounds of oscar mayer bacon) (don’t use a heavy smoked one like an applewood smoked)
                          1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup for dusting the cookies (I used 1/2 dark brown sugar and 1/2 regular granulated sugar)
                          4 Tbs dark molasses
                          1 large egg
                          2 cups a-p flour
                          1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
                          2 tsp baking soda
                          1 tsp ground ginger
                          1 tsp ground cloves
                          1 tsp ground cinnamon

                          preheat oven to 350. line two sheep pans with parchment paper, I used silpat sheets

                          in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all the ingredients. Spin until dough forms

                          chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours. Drop the dough in 1 Tbs limps on a cookie sheet, form into balls, roll in the extra sugar, space 2 inches apart and press flat with fingers. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until dark brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfetr to a baking rack to finish cooling.

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            I have it. It was titled 'Season's Drippings' and appeared last December in the New york Times. The bacon has to be the cheapest brand possible.

                            Swedish Ginger Cookies

                            adapted from nelle branson in the ''trinity episcopal church recipe book,'' 1982 edition. bacon fat can be substituted with 1 1/2 sticks butter; for the authentic cookie, though, bacon fat is the key ingredient.makes 40 cookies

                            3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds Oscar Mayer bacon)
                            1 cup sugar, plus 14 cup for dusting the cookies
                            4 tablespoons dark molasses
                            1 large egg
                            2 cups all-purpose flour
                            1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
                            2 teaspoons baking soda
                            1 teaspoon ground ginger
                            1 teaspoon ground cloves
                            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

                            1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

                            2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all ingredients. Spin until dough forms.

                            3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours. Drop the dough in 1-tablespoon lumps on a cookie sheet, form into balls, roll in sugar, space 2 inches apart and press flat with fingers.

                            Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until dark brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling.

                            1. re: welle

                              I must of edited at the same time you were posting! Well, now it's a must try with two of the same recipe in the same thread! :-)

                      2. From Gourmet's Dec issue a few years ago: blue cheese & walnut cookies, w/ground walnuts in the dough. Delicious!

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                            do you still have this recipe? i'd love it.

                            1. re: annimal

                              BLUE CHEESE SHORTBREAD

                              You can start making these savory cookies up to three days ahead. Even easier: Serve the cheese roll with store-bought crackers. (We especially liked this roulade made with a spiced cranberry-apple chutney, but any thick chutney will work.)

                              serving size

                              Makes 10 to 12 servings.

                              31/2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
                              3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
                              1/2 cup all purpose flour
                              1/4 cup cornstarch
                              1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
                              1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
                              1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

                              1 8-ounce package chilled cream cheese
                              2/3 cup purchased spiced cranberry-apple chutney
                              1/2 cup very thinly sliced green onions
                              For shortbread:
                              Blend blue cheese and butter in processor until creamy. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add walnuts and process just until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

                              Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top sheet. Using 2 1/2x1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out leaves. Transfer leaves to prepared baking sheets. Gather dough scraps and reroll; cut out additional leaves. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer leaves to rack and cool. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

                              For roulade:
                              Using rolling pin, flatten cream cheese between sheets of plastic wrap; roll into 10x8-inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Spread 1/3 cup chutney atop cream cheese rectangle, leaving 1-inch plain border. Sprinkle chutney with 2 tablespoons green onions. Using plastic as aid and starting at 1 long side, roll up cream cheese, jelly-roll style, into log. Gently press remaining green onions onto roulade. Wrap roulade tightly with plastic. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

                              Place roulade on platter. Surround with shortbread leaves. Top roulade with remaining 1/3 cup chutney and serve.

                          2. I make a butter cookie that my mom called Jam Splits.
                            2 c flour
                            1/2 t baking pdr.
                            2/3 c sugar
                            3/4 c very soft unsalted butter
                            1/2 t salt
                            1 med egg lightly beaten w/1 T rum
                            2 tsp vanilla
                            1/2 c thoroughly stirred raspberry jam

                            Mix dry ingred's and cream with the butter, add egg and flvaorings. Will make a soft dough.

                            Divide into 1/4's and shape each into a roll 12" by 3/4". Place 4" apart on ungreased sheets.

                            Using your pinkie, make a depression down the length of the roll to about 1/4' from each end. Spoon judicious amount of jam down the center.

                            Bake at 350 for 15-20 min. Cool a few minutes on sheet, then cut on the diagonal about 3/4" apart.

                            Store airtight.

                            1. One of my favorite cookie recipes that I call 'almond roca cookies' are the easiest thing ever - they store and travel well and people love em. Spread saltines in the bottom of a jelly-roll pan, breaking crackers to fit in the nooks and crannies. Melt together butter and brown sugar until they come together in a shiny semi-solid. Spread the caramel mixture over the saltines (CAREFULLY - it's unbelievably hot) and top with a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. The chips will melt on contact. Spread evenly and top with crushed roasted almonds. Cool until set, then store in an airtight container.

                              1. For offbeat, look up this link (it's to the Traveller's Lunchbox blog recipe archive):


                                She lists 4 cookies with recipes. All sound exotic but the most offbeat is probably for the scourtins, French olive cookies. I've never tried them but others have also said they are amazing. If you do make them, please report back.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cheryl_h

                                  I have made the scourtins several times and they are FANTASTIC. Just a little bit sweet, with hits of those salty olives. I recommend getting really good olives, not just anything from a can...

                                2. I take a French class in which we take turns with wine and foods (because, you know, passe compose vs. passe simple is just so darn hard)/ I'm gonna try those scourtins next week!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Alice Letseat

                                    Well, with food every week, you'll certainly learn lots of adjectives - Les scourtins son vraiment incroyable! Zut alors!
                                    Formidable, non?

                                  2. i'm still curious as to the blue cheese walnut cookies mentioned earlier in this thread. did anyone have a recipe for those?

                                    1. OP mentioned recipes infusing with alcohol...we buy/collect for occasions like this..the sample size bottles of liquers typically found at wine shop checkouts.

                                      We infuse our shortbread cookie recipes with warmed liquers, almond, chocolate, mint, coffee, licore...you get the idea..

                                      Served with a glass of wine-very nice!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I had some luck sandwiching dulce de leche between two small round spiced butter cookies and then dusting with powdered sugar. Sort of a spiced alfajore.

                                        1. Just made a tray of French olive oil and olive studded cookies called Scourtins. They are magnificent! The base is actually full of butter and confectioners sugar. The sweetness of the base combined with the saltiness of the olives will drive you mad if this is a combo that you love. http://frenchfood.about.com/od/french...

                                          1. I've been meaning to try this recipe for Cheddar and Cranberry cookies for awhile now. Sounds too interesting to pass up - I just need to get some good cheddar.


                                            1. Cinnamon, thank you for posting the link to the cookie recipe; I made them yesterday and they are delightful. I gave my batches an egg glaze and sprinkled demerara sugar on them to give them more crunch, and that was a good touch.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: jillp

                                                Thank you for the follow-up report - I may try demerara next time around. (They're a pleasant break from gaggingly sweet holiday cookies, I think.)

                                              2. This is a Greek cookie that my mom makes:


                                                2 c. oleo
                                                3 tbsp. powdered sugar
                                                2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
                                                1 jigger brandy
                                                1 tsp. almond extract
                                                1 c. chopped nuts
                                                1 tsp. baking soda
                                                4 1/2 c. flour

                                                Cream oleo until light, 15 minutes. Beat in sugar, egg yolks, flavoring and nuts. Carefully blend in flour and baking powder. Shape into crescents and bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes.

                                                Sift powdered sugar onto waxed paper. Place cookies on sugar and sift more sugar over top. Cool thoroughly before serving. (Be real careful with them till they're completely cooled, because they have a tendency to disintegrate.)

                                                Here's another one, from my grandma. These are incredibly easy, once you get past the tedium of cutting up the candied cherries (rinse them first, then use kitchen shears and dip them in warm water now and then to cut the stickiness).


                                                1 c. shortening (half butter)
                                                1 c. sugar
                                                2 egg yolks
                                                1/2 tsp. vanilla
                                                1/4 tsp. almond extract
                                                2 c. flour
                                                1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
                                                1/4 tsp. baking soda
                                                1 c. chopped nuts
                                                1/2 c. finely chopped candied cherries (red or green or both)
                                                Colored sugar

                                                Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks and flavorings. Sift flour with soda and cream of tartar; add to mixture. Add nuts and cherries.

                                                Form dough into 2” rolls. Sprinkle colored (red & green) sugar on waxed paper. Roll the cookie rolls in sugar; wrap in the waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Slice 1/4” thick; bake on ungreased sheet 8-10 minutes at 350°. Makes 10 dozen.

                                                1. I did my cookie-baking over the weekend. Three winners - orange-cardamom-fig biscotti, peanut butter-ginger cookies, and lemon-glazed clove cookies. Not exactly wild and crazy, but a little unusual.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. These are great - I've been making them for the holidays for years now.

                                                    Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

                                                    2 cups flour
                                                    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                    1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                    2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
                                                    3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
                                                    1 cup powdered sugar
                                                    1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
                                                    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
                                                    1/4 cup sugar, for dipping

                                                    1. Heat the oven to 350F. Line a cooling rack with paper towels.

                                                    2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a larger bowl, beat hte butter and coffee until well-combined. Add the powdered sugar and brown sugar and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips.

                                                    3. Put the granulated sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Scoop out about 1 Tbs. dough and flatten it slightly into a disk. Dip one side into the granulated sugar and then set the disk, sugar side up, on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the disks about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges start to darken, 12 - 14 minutes. (Begin checking after 12 minutes, but don't remove too soon.)

                                                    4. Let the cookies cool for 1 - 2 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer them to the paper-towel-lined racks to cool completely. Bake the rest of the dough the same way.

                                                    Annie Gemettei
                                                    Fine Cooking
                                                    January 2002

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Andiereid

                                                      I love kourabiedes and will definitely try this recipe. Please excuse my ignorance but what is oleo? And, if it's a transfat, can you substitute butter or will that mess them up?


                                                      1. re: laylag

                                                        Sorry about that. My relatives are okies (up here in the midwest they call it "olie"). It's margarine. I don't know if you can successfully substitute butter. I'll ask my mom.

                                                    2. Oleo is an old fashioned (I remember it from the 50's) term for "(Oleo-) Margarine"/ Don't know what he 'oleo' stood for. Some sort of chemistry term, no doubt. Just plain old margarine. You know, what they call 'trans-fats' now.

                                                      I'm sure you could use butter, the taste will be somewhat different, but the cookie was probably first made with butter, not margarine.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: toodie jane

                                                        Okay, my mom says butter would be fine, probably actually better. She says she saw a woman on TV the other day demonstrating them, and this woman said something about beating the butter till it's almost white--you couldn't really do that with oleo, with all the highly fake yello coloring in it.

                                                        Here's another nice cookie of Greek origin that my mom makes. (Her best friend growing up--in central Oklahoma--was Greek, so she got to eat a lot of good Greek stuff at her house.) These aren't real sweet, but quite nice--they're my sister's favorite.

                                                        Sesame Seed Cookies

                                                        5 1/2 c. flour
                                                        1 tbsp. baking powder
                                                        1 c. margarine
                                                        1 c. sugar
                                                        4 eggs
                                                        1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
                                                        1 tbsp. water
                                                        Sesame seed

                                                        Cream oleo, sugar, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks (reserve whites) and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.
                                                        Shape a heaping teaspoon of dough into a 6” rope; fold in half and twist together. Beat reserved egg whites with water. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, brush with egg white mixture, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are firm.

                                                        (Again with the oleo, I see...)

                                                        Here's another fun one if you have a cookie press. My mom has made these from time to time since I was really little.

                                                        Jello Pressed Cookies

                                                        4 c. flour
                                                        1 tsp. baking powder
                                                        1 1/2 c. margarine
                                                        1 c. sugar
                                                        1 pkg. jello
                                                        1 egg
                                                        1 tsp. vanilla
                                                        additional jello for sprinkling

                                                        Cream butter, sugar and jello. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add flour and baking powder; mix until smooth.
                                                        Drop from cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheet; sprinkle with jello. Bake at 400° for 13-14 minutes, till just barely brown at edges.

                                                        (Here she says margarine in the ingredients, but butter in the directions. I think she probably uses oleo more often than not; I'd advise experimenting with butter. But then if you are going to make cookies with jello, what's a little more artificially-created food-like substance? That said, these are actually quite tasty.)

                                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                                          Oleo no doubt stands for oleic acid ... here's a Wikipedia entry for oleo. (And there's even some open source software that has adopted the name oleo.)

                                                        2. what Norwegian are you talking about? Sounds good!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jenniferstimson

                                                            I posted a link to the cookie recipe somewhere above.

                                                          2. I may still have a recipe for sesame coconut cookies somewhere? As I recall, they spread a lot but were quite "sandy," a quality I enjoy in cookies. I thought I should tinker with the recipe but I hope I kept it becausee their flavor and texture was great. The recipe used the fine dessicated coconut rather than the sweetened shredded variety, and it seemed to me the sugar could be reduced first to try to limit the spread. They could do with being less sweet, to my taste, anyway. The sesame seeds were whole, and I think it might do to grind them just a bit, to help the cookie hold shape better.