brown sugar | cardamom | cinnamon | cookies | dough | ginger | honey | recipe | rose water | treats | unique

My cookies are exotic (get your mind out of the gutter).

December 18, 2009

A couple of months ago, my dear friend Lyns sent me a bottle of Rose Water in a package of liners, etc. Ever since I got it, I’ve been trying to decide what to make with it (it came with a recipe for Vanilla Rose Rice Pudding, which I will make someday, I just wanted something different). So I asked that very question on Facebook. And whaddaya know? The lovely Gina, another of my fellow bloggers from Cooking the Books, linked me to a recipe on the Food Network website. And it sounded perfect.

Rose water is frequently used in Iranian and Indian cuisine, to flavor milk as well as sweets (cookies, ice cream and even tea). In Lebanon, it’s added to lemonade. In Western Europe it’s used to flavor marzipan and madeleines, little scalloped French sponge cake/cookies. Another interesting fact about rose water thanks to Wikipedia:

Rose water was also used to make Waverly Jumbles, a type of cookie much favoured by the American President James Monroe. American and European bakers enjoyed the floral flavouring of rose water in their baking until the 19th century when vanilla flavouring became popular.

I decided I liked the whole Victorian 18th century appeal of it, so I wanted to go with that. For some reason, too, it reminds me  of Victorian Christmas cookies. The Victorian’s loved their “exotic” tastes and oddities (which is why many of them had genuine Egyptian sarcophagi in their parlors, complete with mummies). They loved anything Asian or Indian in flavor, it made them feel more worldly. I’ve been in a Victorian state of mind since reading a Victoria magazine (for the first time in forever) lately, and I’m a huge history geek so to me this all fit together perfectly. Look at the recipe for Queen cake on this page, and check out these Victorian cookies. Rose water!

Let me just say this: this is NOT a cookie for the faint of heart or the finicky. If you don’t like different, unique or exotic tastes, don’t bother trying it. Kids probably won’t like them, and if you aren’t familiar with the taste/smell of rose water in food, you might be convinced it tastes like your grandmother’s perfumed powder room. That said- they’re a completely different taste, and something that, in a crowd of foodies or culinary connoisseurs, will most likely be at least appreciated, if not loved.

I thought they were very good, in a very unique way. Stress on the word unique. They are not like a chocolate chip cookie in the way that you can sit and eat four or five with a glass of milk. They’re more like something to be savored. In other words, perfect for Christmastime. They’d be really good with Champagne, I bet, so maybe they’d make a good New Year’s Eve party cookie.



  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • ¾ cup turbinado (raw) sugar, for rolling


  1. Whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, pepper and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Mix in the crystallized ginger. Set aside momentarily.
  2. In a large bowl beat the brown sugar, butter and shortening with an electric mixer until fluffy (do not overbeat-it will add too much air). Add the egg, honey and rosewater and beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, mixing until just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the turbinado sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 ¼-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 to 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

I did not use turbinado sugar, I used red sugar because it was Christmas-y. Rebellious.

Speaking of rebellious.. I am a rebellious baker at times. I laugh in the face of ingredient lists, make my own self-rising flour while listening to Flogging Molly, use mayonnaise instead of eggs (only sometimes) and substitute regular flour for cake flour while crossing my fingers and listening to Bing Crosby (hey- you’ve gotta have variety!). So I was planning on omitting the crystallized ginger altogether, but only because I didn’t have any on hand. But I ended up running out and getting some, and I’d say that it’s pretty worthwhile to do so. The texture adds something to the cookies. I’m not a big fan of crystallized ginger, myself, so I gave my mother the remaining ginger in the container. If you aren’t a fan either, then maybe you could look into buying just what you’ll need for these, or you could just omit it altogether. The ground ginger would be enough I’m sure.

So basically… if you’re not sure that you’ll like these, halve the recipe and make just half. You’ll still have plenty of cookies if you like them, and if not, it’s not that bad of a waste to get rid of them (or pawn them off on someone else).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Facebook Twitter Email

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Ooh what a great idea. I loves me some rose water. I also seriously adore a good sugar-crusted, chewy spice cookie. I’m totally making these sometime.

  2. These cookies are amazing! I first saw them on the food network, and given my unexplainable and disastrously romantic love affair with rosewater-flavored foods, I knew I had to try them. To be fair, I changed the recipe a little – I omitted the crystallized ginger and added some nutmeg – but they came out great! And I was rebellious, too: yellow, purple, and green sugar for Mardi Gras 🙂

  3. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We
    are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the
    same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have
    done a extraordinary job!

  4. I have been browsing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, but I by no
    means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It
    is lovely worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content as
    you probably did, the net will probably be a lot more useful than ever before.

  5. always i used to read smaller content which as well clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this post which I am
    reading now.

  6. I wanted to put you a very small note to say thanks a lot over again for those pleasant basics you have featured
    at this time. This has been tremendously open-handed with people like you to make extensively
    just what a few people might have offered as an ebook to help make some money
    for their own end, and in particular now that you might
    well have done it if you ever wanted. The guidelines likewise worked as the easy
    way to fully grasp most people have the same zeal much like my very own to learn a whole lot more in terms of this matter.
    I’m sure there are some more enjoyable sessions ahead for those who discover your blog post.

  7. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words
    in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d
    post to let you know. The design and style look great though!
    Hope you get the problem solved soon. Kudos

  8. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of
    your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  9. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking
    about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos
    to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  10. Hello mates, how is the whole thing, and what you would like to say on the topic of this paragraph, in my
    view its actually amazing in favor of me.

  11. If some one wants expert view on the topic of blogging and site-building after that i recommend him/her to visit this website, Keep up the good job.

  12. Excellent items from you, man. I have take into account
    your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely magnificent.
    I really like what you have received here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which in which you assert it.

    You’re making it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible.
    I can not wait to learn far more from you. That is really a tremendous web site.

  13. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff prior to and
    you are simply extremely excellent. I really like what you’ve obtained here, certainly like what you’re saying
    and the way in which wherein you say it. You make it
    enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise.

    I can not wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a
    great website.

  14. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit
    of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post…

  15. I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet users, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new blog.

  16. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit
    acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  17. I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i
    am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general
    things, The site style is wonderful, the articles
    is really great : D. Good job, cheers

Comments are closed.