Elsa's Rye Cookies

December 17, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 60 cookies
Author Notes

Sometimes you come across a book that's so charming you can't resist cooking from it. Such was the case with "Swedish Cakes and Cookies." Who doesn't like a gingham cover? And Swedish cookies? And Swedish cookies made with rye flour? I was smitten. This adorable little book has so many sticky note tabs in its pages it looks like fringe.

It turns out that those rye cookies -- Elsa's Rye Cookies, though we never learn who Elsa is, but you know she wears a good apron and has a vintage rolling pin -- are like tea biscuits. Add a little more salt, and you have something you could serve with cheese. A little more sugar and your kids will want them all. But we liked them just the way they are, gently spiced, proud of their rye blood, and stubbornly uncommitted to dessert. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fine rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the two flours with the salt, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and sugar. Cut in the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, kneading lightly. Form into two 1 1/4 inches-thick logs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  3. Cut each log into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on the center oven rack for around 10 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kimberlie Robert
    Kimberlie Robert
  • Lisaaw
  • BavarianCook
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

16 Reviews

Sonia March 22, 2019
Surprising and delightful! I used 80g white flour, 180g rye the rest as written. The dough was too soft to make a good log, so the slices weren’t pretty so I rolled them into little balls and flattened them slightly before baking. Absolutely wonderful unique adult cookies.
Kimberlie R. September 14, 2015
These cookies are so delicious, I posted them to my website: The Finer Cookie. I've given you full credit and a link back. Thank you for this beautiful and unique recipe. I so appreciate a cookie that isn't too sweet. If you have a moment, please come see my post Only the best to you and continued success.
Amanda H. September 17, 2015
Hi Kimberlie, thanks for your note and the post -- your cookies turned out beautifully. Can you please turn the credit into a live link back to Food52 on your post? Thanks so much!
Kimberlie R. September 17, 2015
Of course, Amanda. The link is live. Thanks again for this wonderful recipe.
Kgiersch August 2, 2014
Delicious flavor! I added a bit of milk to help the dough stick together, then refrigerated for 2 hours. Next time I'll cut back on the sugar in favor of more honey. A lavendar variation would also be worth trying.
parley December 6, 2013
despite being swedish I've never heard of rye biscuits, so I obviously had to try these. I did not have fine rye flour at home so I blitzed coarse rye flour in the mixer but it did not turn out very finely ground despite this. I believe the logs would have come together easier with fine flour, but other than that I don't think the flour situation had much of an impact! I could not resist adding a scant tsp of ground cardamom, and swapped the regular sugar for brown. They turned out delicious - tender yet rustic, beautiful with tea but likewise excellent with a sharp swedish cheese.
cassandra Y. February 21, 2013
what is rye flour
Amanda H. February 21, 2013
Rye is type of wheat. Here's a good source for it:
cassandra Y. February 21, 2013
what is rye flour please help i am a beginner in baking
Lisaaw January 2, 2013
These are wonderful! They have a hint of all flavours. Really easy to make. I had mine rolled in the fridge for 3 days, and they puffed beautifully; which makes me think that they would also freeze nicely if you wanted to get ahead on seasonal baking. Perfect with tea but also hold up nicely to sharp cheese. This recipe is a keeper! thanks
witloof December 28, 2012
I made these a few days ago. I wonder if my scale is off, though, because they were very soft and didn't hold their shape well when I backed them. I think I added too much butter. {I buy Beurremont butter in bulk and it's delicious and cheap, but hard to measure in sticks.} The flavor was great, though, and I'll definitely make them again.
Amanda H. December 28, 2012
I'm sorry you had this experience. It does sound like the proportion of butter to flour may have been off. Hope the next batch is better!
gina C. December 19, 2012
When it says "combine the flour"- does it mean both flours or do you add the rye flour at the end when you "add remaining ingredients?"
Baker_D December 20, 2012
I would think you would combine all the dry ingredients first, as this is a biscuit method dough. That said, I would like to know how cold my butter should be before cutting it in.
Amanda H. December 20, 2012
Sorry for the delay -- yes, both flours should be combined and added at the beginning. I will fix the recipe now!
BavarianCook December 18, 2012
These are right up my alley. Love the not-too-sweet cookies. And if you have guests for Tea, you can always break these out and spread a little Devonshire cream and jam on them.