Monday, February 26, 2007


I grew up in a house where we had tea and dessert (often, cookies) after dinner every night. Tea with lemon, no sugar. Coffee was for breakfast. Somewhere along the line, I stopped putting lemon in my tea - and I'm not sure why. I actually love it with lemon. Through my marriages, the tea kettle went on after dinner - and even now, I have a cup at my right hand as I type. Much as I love coffee, I am more likely to make a cup of tea in the afternoon. Tea = comfort. Baking also=comfort. Less so the eating than the process of baking. I have had the recipe for Pepper-Cumin Cookies sitting around since the beginning of time: obviously cut from the NY Times magazine. I had not baked in a while - and last night, apparently needing comfort --I baked a half-recipe of these cookies (just in case they were terrible). Love at first bite. Snow day today. Worked at home: did paperwork, made soup, and baked another batch of these cookies, which are as divine as I had hoped they would be. Half of them I will take to the studio to share. Perfect counterpoint to tea. Of course, they might not appeal to everybody - the flavor is a bit quirky --and you might not have a big jar of cumin seeds sitting around in your pantry, as I do, but these cookies are worth a trip to the Indian grocery store. Seeds, not ground cumin. You didn't ask, but here it is. Pepper-Cumin Cookies
2 c. flour (I used whole wheat)
6 T sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp black peppercorns, cracked
1 tsp cumin seeds, cracked
1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly and cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Put the first 6 ingredients into food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter & vanilla and pulse till mixture just forms a dough.
2. Place dough on work surface and shape into 1" balls. Put on parchment-lined baking sheets and flaten each cookie with palm of hand.
3. Bake till lightly browned, about 15 min. Remove and cool on rack. Makes about 3-4 doz.


Sandy said...

Yahooo- cumin in cookies- gotta be spectacular! First thing in the morning I will get at it. I have a recipe I love for pepper biscotti- when I make it I do the double batch and then lie to the family that I only made one. I then have a secret pile in the vast recesses of the studio for when things get real tough. Thanks! Sandy

Rayna said...

It's the sweet/savory thing. I'll take a copy of the pepper biscotti if you're giving it out. My secret pile of these cookies is waaay down!

Anonymous said...

We only had a 2 hr. delay which was ok for me. I do have the cumin seeds so over the weekend I will have to try these. Thanks!

Diane in PA

Karoda said...

I'm intrigued enough to try them this recipe! Cumin in a cookie...another example of why reading blogs is educational :)

My coffee is perking now and my daughter (the cookie maiden who ran her own cookie business for 2 years at age 10) baked chocolate chips this morning before going to school.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Sounds like a bizarre combination, but as a fellow tea lover and baker, I'll have to try them. Next: where to find cumin seeds in mid-coast Maine (one stop this side of the dark side of the moon). Maybe at the Market Basket (where rich people buy lunch, and the rest of us wish we could, and source of all sorts of gourmet goodies....they have a bakery and kitchen and will sometimes sell ingredients from the kitchen if they don't have them packaged out front...nice people!)..... Thanks!

Judy said...

Oh YUMMMM Rayna!! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I'm sitting here sipping on a cup of heavenly decaf with lots of cinnamon...but I think the cookies would work!!

And to Sarah...if all else fails, try Penzeys spices on line for your cumin seeds. They have it all!!


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