Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 25, 2009: Cryptic cookies

This is my first attempt at something from the sweeter side of Veganomicon. For all their Plain Jane looks, I've dubbed these cryptic cookies for a reason - they have a lot more going on than they let on at first glance. The initial hint for the non-scoffer is the curious aroma. The first bite confirms it to be rose water; then there's sourness before sweetness and as chewing continues, a golden roastedness and hint of salt to round out the flavour.

The rose water's backed up with an all-star line-up of vanilla, lime, cardamom and sesame seeds. These are actually supposed to be decorated with chopped pistachios (hence their original name, pistachio-rosewater cookies) but designated shopper Michael lamented that there wasn't a pistachio to be had in Fitzroy, and I took a chance on the sesame seeds in the pantry. I wasn't immediately convinced, yet they snuck their way into my favour over the course of a few cookies.

Isa and Terry promise cookies "pretty as a picture" and I'm sure they'd be a little more eye-catching if studded with the recommended pistachios. However, my dough was far too runny to roll into balls so they seemed doomed to this blobbly shape. I can imagine, though, how lovely they'd look if the dough was piped into thick S shapes using a star-shaped nozzle. Warm from the oven, the cookies had the perfect balance of crisp outer and chewy centre; once cool they were uniformly crunchy, a fine candidate for dunking in tea.

Cryptic cookies
(based on the pistachio-rose water cookies in Veganomicon, by Isa Moskowitz & Terry Romero)

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons oat milk
1 tablespoon rose water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup cornflour
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray or two with paper.

Whisk together the sugar, oil, milk, rose water, vanilla, lime juice and zest in a bowl. Whisk in the cornflour until the mixture is smooth. Thoroughly mix through the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.

Drop large teaspoons of the dough onto the baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between cookies. Sprinkle the blobs with sesames seeds, then bake them for 10-13 minutes (mine needed no more than 10 minutes). Allow them to cool and firm up on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack.


  1. an interesting array of flavours very vividly described!

  2. love the name and the description - sound full of intrigue