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Dec 6, 2013 01:28 AM

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

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. re: Steve

      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

        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. 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

              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

                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

                  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

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

          1. 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

              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. 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 -

              4 Replies
              1. re: Clams047

                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

                  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

                    Apparently, yes.

                    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

                      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. 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

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