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Make my dad's christmas - help me identify this cookie from his childhood?

namas Dec 6, 2013 01:28 AM

I apologize if this is an irritating question... but I need an afficionado and historian (or several), and this looks like the place. If it's not, direct me to the right place and I'll disappear!

My dad's 75, and he's been pining away for a cookie he loved as a kid and can't find anymore. So it would have been around in the 1940's, maybe 50's, in the New York area (at least).

He doesn't have much to offer on the description, other than that the top was covered in peanuts; not a peanut butter cookie, or a pecan sandy, or an almond horn, or any of the thoughts I tried on him... apparently a fairly flat cookie with a full covering of peanuts on top, not just a few.

Any ideas? If you have even a guess, I could hunt down some images - my searches thus far have come up with peanut *butter* cookies only.

Last thought - might this be the kind of cookie that used to be served as dessert at a Chinese restaurant? Not the mass-produced fortune cookie, but the flat ones with nuts. If so, where are those things?

Thanks to anybody who can help... he'd be so thrilled.

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  1. s
    Steve RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 03:11 AM

    Were they crushed peanuts like this?:


    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve
      namas RE: Steve Dec 6, 2013 03:30 AM

      Those look tasty... but they weren't peanut butter cookies, and the peanuts weren't crushed. He says just a layer of half-peanuts, full-coverage, and a plain, thinner cookie beneath.

      1. re: Steve
        namas RE: Steve Dec 6, 2013 04:11 AM

        The picture I have in my mind is of a fairly thin, wafer-type cookie with a very thin layer of peanut brittle on top... or a thin, wafer-like cookie that has had peanut halves pressed flat onto each cookie top before baking, covering the whole surface area. Possibly glazed at some point after baking, giving the effect of a polished, peanut-brittle-like coat?

        It could also maybe be described as spreading out halved peanuts in a solid sheet, onto a cutting board or something, and pressing the top side of the raw dough onto them, thus getting a full and even coverage.

      2. jrvedivici RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 04:05 AM

        What you are describing sounds like a pignoli cookie, which as a child would easily be confused as peanuts. They are fairly common in the NY city area.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jrvedivici
          hambone RE: jrvedivici Dec 6, 2013 04:25 AM

          That was my thought too.

          1. re: hambone
            magiesmom RE: hambone Dec 6, 2013 06:19 AM

            Me too

          2. re: jrvedivici
            jrvedivici RE: jrvedivici Dec 6, 2013 04:31 AM

            Here's a pignoli

            1. re: jrvedivici
              namas RE: jrvedivici Dec 6, 2013 04:55 AM

              Whoa, that looks very possible - yes, I can see how a child would think those were peanuts. He recalls them being extremely delicious, and no other peanut cookie has ever captured the taste, so by jove, I think they were pine nuts.

              Thank you! Thank you thank you!

              For Gastronomos below, he grew up in Wykagyl - a place that used to have some great delis but is now fairly bland :(

              1. re: namas
                jrvedivici RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 05:42 AM

                They are relatively expensive as far as cookies go so do yourself and him a big favor and find a good Italian bakery, don't go to your local supermarket for them. These are very popular Italian cookies and were are my mothers favorite from her childhood. I hope your father enjoys!!

                1. re: jrvedivici
                  Clams047 RE: jrvedivici Dec 6, 2013 06:06 AM

                  Due to the almond paste, they are quite expensive relative to other cookies, but they make up for the cost in their superior flavor. Tried making them, but again, the cost of the almond paste is quite high. As previously mentioned, do find a good Italian pastry shop / bakery for the best product / avoid local super markets. Probably not worth making vs. a good pastry shop product.

                  On the other hand, as I previously posted, I think the cookie was truly a peanut sugar cookie. If you try making them, I doubt that raw peanuts will toast adequately in the time it takes for a cookie to bake, but simply adding Planters peanuts will likely not be adequate either.

                  May want to try partially roasting raw peanuts and press them onto the cookies before baking. Not sure if the same desired result will occur if the partially roasted peanuts are simply mixed into the batter.

                  1. re: Clams047
                    hambone RE: Clams047 Dec 6, 2013 02:09 PM

                    PIgnolis -- especially in the last two years -- are also really expensive.

          3. Gastronomos RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 04:30 AM

            ok. I'll bite.

            where EXACTLY did dad grow up? What neighborhood?

            Chinese Restaurants gave out Almond cookies when I was a kid.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gastronomos
              Gastronomos RE: Gastronomos Dec 6, 2013 05:08 AM

              Wykagyl would have had either the pignoli or almond cookies.

              peanut cookies would have been found within the borders of the five NYC boros, if at all.

            2. c
              Clams047 RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 05:18 AM

              I recall liking a cookie as a kid in the 50's just as you describe, but it was a mass-produced, packaged cookie from a large grocer - quite possibly Stop & Shop. It was essentially a basic sugar cookie covered in whole / half peanuts (not peanut butter and definitely peanuts). Haven't seen anything like them since (but I've looked for them).

              They looked like this - http://tinyurl.com/qyaxqsp

              4 Replies
              1. re: Clams047
                namas RE: Clams047 Dec 6, 2013 08:51 AM

                Oh geez. I think you're right - he did think they were mass-produced. And they look very much like he described. Do you remember the brand name or store chain? Otherwise, I'm back at square one :(

                They look simple enough to make, but I know I can't make an oreo by pressing sweetened shortening between two flat chocolate cookies - brand things have their own flavor.

                1. re: Clams047
                  namas RE: Clams047 Dec 6, 2013 09:05 AM

                  Oh geez, here's another picture - I wish stock photos would say more...


                  I suspect he wouldn't like my attempt to bake something similar - no such thing as home-made oreos. But thanks for relating :


                  Did they have Stop & Shop in the 50's?

                  1. re: namas
                    The Dairy Queen RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 09:21 AM

                    Apparently, yes. http://www.stopandshop.com/about_us/c...

                    I wonder if you could do an advanced google search on on vintage peanut cookie recipes, but make the search exclude the exact phrase peanut butter so you don't get any recipes for peanut butter cookies?

                    I'm always so captivated by these long lost recipe searches because I have a few recipes that I also pine for.


                    1. re: namas
                      The Dairy Queen RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 09:45 AM

                      I'd try to contact the photographers. You never know! They might be willing to share some info or the recipe with you. If nothing else, you can buy your dad a nice photo of his favorite cookie for Christmas. One of the photographers is in the Netherlands and the other is in Australia, so maybe their cookies aren't that similar to what your Dad loved, or maybe they are actually a Dutch cookie or something like that!


                  2. eLizard RE: namas Dec 6, 2013 06:10 AM

                    pignoli have a sort of almond macaroon as the base. not so much a wafer. do you think he's thinking of a florentine?


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: eLizard
                      namas RE: eLizard Dec 6, 2013 08:52 AM

                      Regrettably no, I think he's thinking of the pic Clams posted above. Sadness :(

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