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The season of holiday excess is upon us, and one of my year-round favorite indulgences gets its due at this time of year: the cookie. These caraway cookies are a fine specimen—not chocolate, I’ll admit, but otherwise quite good. They have a reliable pedigree, hailing from Maida Heatter’s Cookies, where she describes the “caraway crisp” as a classic Scottish recipe. The flavor is restrained, the caraway and lemon are fragrant but not overwhelming, and the overall effect is a very nice balance of sweet but not too sweet.
When J and I visited Scotland, once upon a time, our friends sent us touring with a thermos of tea and cookies, admonishing us to stop for “tea and biscuits” at regular intervals throughout our travels. These are just the cookies for such occasions, although they’ll also be right at home in any holiday assortment.
And let’s be perfectly honest: I also like these cookies because they’re of the very easy slice-and-bake variety. Once you’ve formed a log of dough, you can bake them all at once or a tray at a time, leaving unused dough frozen until your Scottish friends pop in for tea.
Caraway Cookies (adapted from Maida Heatter’s Cookies): In a medium bowl, combine 2 2/3 sifted all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.
Cream a stick of butter (4 oz.) in a mixer, then beat in 1 c. sugar, then 1 egg and 2 tsp. whole caraway seeds. Gradually add the dry ingredients above while mixing on low seed until just combined. Stir in the zest of a large lemon plus 2 Tbsp. lemon juice.
Cover your workspace with a sheet of wax paper and transfer the crumbly dough to the wax paper. Use your hands to knead the dough gently until it comes together, then form it into a roll about 10″ long and 2″ in diameter. Wrap the dough in the wax paper and transfer to the freezer until firm. (If you plan to store the dough for longer, you’ll also want to seal it in a freezer bag.)
Preheat oven to 400, then slice dough into scant 1/4″ rounds (I’d say 3/16″, but that sounds kind of nitpicky, doesn’t it?). Place dough rounds 1″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating sheets as necessary for even baking. The finished cookies will be lightly browned on the edges. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a rack to cool.
Thanks for visiting Emmy Cooks! You can find some of my favorite recent recipes by visiting “My Favorite Recipes” (here are September, October, and November). If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your blog reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
I adore caraway, but I never would have thought to put it in cookies! I’m on a huge tea-and-cookies kick right now, so these look incredibly appealing.
I like it–it gives them a little intrigue. What are your favorite cookies with tea?
I’m a biscotti girl, actually. Give me a couple of nice crisp chocolate-dipped biscotti and a mug of tea, and I’m happy as a clam.
That’s a nice biscuit – I’d forgotten caraway as a flavour. Clever mix with lemon.
You must not be on the same sauerkraut-on-rye kick that I am. Caraway is front and center in my mind. :)
Don’t you just love those old Maida Heatter cookbooks? Her instructions go on for pages and pages, but the recipes are always great.
I do love this book, and I believe I’ll have to seek out more! Which do you recommend? I took these to a cookbook club and every recipe from the book was great.
This is the one I’ve used most. But I think there’s something good in all of them. Wait … a cookbook club? What’s that?
King Arthur Flour informs me that today is National Cookie Day. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll be making one of your recipes this evening.
I can’t believe I missed National Cookie Day! I certainly made up for it before and after, however. Thank you for alerting me to this important holiday.
These cookies sound just about perfect. Not too sweet, easy to make, no rolling things out, dough can hang out in the freezer until you want cookies–perfect.
Sounds like we have the same criteria for cookies–except that I can easily tolerate too sweet. :)
You just took me back with this recipe to my university years at St Andrews! Caraway cookies are super yummy and you just inspired me to give them a go for Christmas bakign this year so thank you.
I’m so glad! I love when flavor-memories take me back to other places and times. :)
I’ve never heard of caraway in cookies, but you’ve never steered me wrong ;)
Now I’m trying to think what else I can put it in–I love it in bread and crackers and these cookies–maybe a cabbage dish will be next!
oooh… I’ve never tried caraway cookies before! I love spiced cookies. We have those spiked with cumin seeds here. This would be just as good, I am sure.
Now I need to make cumin seed cookies! Are the seeds whole? Are they toasted? Are the cookies sweet? I have so much to learn and so many cookies to make. :)
I have to check that book out for the Takedown! These look great. Whenever I think of caraway, I always think of Scandinavian food . . .
I really liked the flavor combination here! Maybe you can develop a lemon-caraway nougat for your product line. :)