Brussels Cookies, Made Virtuous At Home

October  5, 2012

Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today, Lara Ferroni shares a make-at-home version of one of her favorite Pepperidge Farm cookies. Lara is the author of Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. Her new book, Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk, comes out on October 30th.


When I was seven months pregnant with my daughter, I got itchy. Turns out, I have a slight allergy to cottonseed oil that went into hyperdrive and, simultaneously, I had huge cravings for Pepperidge Farm cookies. Yep, one of those foods that may or may not contain cottonseed oil. I rolled the dice and as a result spent a lot of time soaking in oatmeal baths. What I would have given to have had this recipe then!

That's one of the reasons that I wrote my new cookbook, Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk. We all get cravings now and then for junky snack food. While I'm not saying that sugar and butter and flour are exactly health food, I think a little indulgence is good for the soul. But I hate the fact that those snacks also are packed with industrial oils, flavorings, and colors that really provide no pleasure and, in many cases, even a small amount can be debilitating.

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These crisp Brussels cookies are super easy (and forgiving) to make. They not only skip the hydrogenated oils, but also add a bit more nutrition from whole wheat flour and oat bran. I like a little honey in the mix for flavor, but you can also skip it and increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons.

Brussels Cookies
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies

1/2 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons honey
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cream

Heat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla and milk. Sift in the flour, oat bran, baking powder and salt; mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, on low, until well blended.

Scoop rounds (1 teaspoon for 2 inch round cookies; a bit more if you want yours larger) and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between the cookies (they will spread!). Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute. They will flatten considerably as they cool. Then carefully move to a wire rack. Cool completely.


Place the warm, melted chocolate in a bowl and stir in the cream until well combined, slightly thick, and glossy. Spread the melted chocolate on the flat side of one of the cookies, and then sandwich with another. Let the cookies set before serving.

Note: Add little mint or orange peel to the chocolate for new flavors, or try drizzling a tiny bit of salted caramel sauce on the chocolate before sandwiching the cookies for an insanely delicious bite. If you want to only bake a few cookies at a time, you can store this dough well covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature before baking, or your cookies won't spread properly.

Save and print the recipe here.

Lara will be answering questions about Brussels cookies on the Hotline for those of you who want to take on this project at home. For the quickest response, go to her recipe and ask a question from there -- we'll email her your question right away!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rica
  • Megha
  • em-i-lis
  • Not Crocker
    Not Crocker
  • Rhonda35
Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a writer and photographer, you might spy her digging through bargain bins for the perfect prop, or dreaming up delicious new ways to use teff, or eating and drinking her way through Portland's vibrant food culture. Her photos have been featured in websites and magazines such as Epicurious and Edible Communities, as well as over 10 cookbooks, including her own, Doughnuts (Sasquatch Books) and Real Snacks: Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without all the Junk (Sasquatch Books), as well as a food photography how-to book, Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting & Shooting (Pixiq). You can find more of her tasty photos and recipes on her blogs, and


Rica July 4, 2016
I absolutely adore these cookies!!! Just a clarification though, can i use white granulated sugar instead of cane sugar? And what kind of cream did you use? Also, can i use all purpose flour instead? I am so looking forward to making these!
Megha December 18, 2013
I am looking forward to making these for a cookie swap this weekend!! Can I use all purpose flour instead of white whole wheat flour? Thanks!
em-i-lis November 7, 2012
these look wonderful!
Not C. October 11, 2012
Ahhh, these are my favourite Pepperidge Farm cookies, but they were hard to find in Canada (at least where I was) for awhile. So glad to see an easy way to whip them up at home!
Rhonda35 October 7, 2012
When I first glimpsed at the header for this, I thought it said "Brussels Sprout Cookies" and I thought, okay, the food52 gang is getting just a little too crazy for me! Glad I looked again.
Lara October 8, 2012
Ha! Yeah, it's an easy one to misread! :-)
2nd S. October 7, 2012
I'm with you on the substitution for oak bran.. anyone out there have suggestion?
Lara October 7, 2012
Try using oatmeal that you grind in a food processor or blender. Or, you could also probably just use an equal amount of whole wheat flour (although I haven't tried it, and I think it might change the texture slightly.)
Jane E. October 7, 2012
I just made these cookies and they are perfectly delicious. I added just a speck of Boyjian orange oil to the chocolate. Really very good, and not at all hard to make.
m1800 October 7, 2012
is there a substitute to use here for oat bran?
Lara October 7, 2012
If you have a blender or food processor, you can just grind up oatmeal. You could use it whole, but the cookies would have a very different texture.
Sauertea October 7, 2012
Oh, this is exciting!! I love Brussels mints!!! Can't wait to try!!
Christina @. October 7, 2012
Okay, I'm back after making them (made them the same day the recipe was posted-I said I couldn't wait!)

The recipe is fabulous...I thought the 1/2 cup sugar might have been overly sweet so I cut the sugar to 1/3 cup and they turned out great; wonder if one could go as low as 1/4 cup? I will definitely be adding these cookies to my "cookie repertoire."
Lara October 7, 2012
Good to hear... you could certainly cut the sugar, but you might then start having some problems with the texture. In addition to the flavor, the sugar caramelization helps give the crisp lacy edges.
Fairmount_market October 5, 2012
I had a major addiction to Brussels cookies in high school and this version look delicious! Thanks so much for sharing.
gretcheninbrooklyn October 5, 2012
Anyone have a recipe for PF's bordeaux?
Lara October 5, 2012
hmm... I haven't made them, but I think they are pretty similar to Biscoff or speculoos cookies, except without the spices.... the ingredients on the label are:

Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm And/Or Interesterified And Hydrogenated Soybean And/Or Hydrogenated Cottonseed), Invert Sugar, Butter, Nonfat Milk, Cornstarch, Contains 2 Percent Or Less Of: Egg Whites, Salt And Baking Soda.

I haven't tried it, but I did find this speculoos recipe that you could probably simplify and cut into the Bordeaux shape:

You might also substitute golden corn syrup (not HFCS) for the sugar, since the original cookies have invert sugar.

Christina @. October 5, 2012
Cannot wait to try these!!!
Panfusine October 5, 2012
WOW, they look so splendid, it makes me want to take a swipe at the screen. & the best part.. a cookie recipe without Eggs.. Thank you for this awesome pick..