Inspiration for these cookies come from a few different sources, the first being the Corn Cookies at Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar, which she calls a "sleeper" hit. So a corn cookie is one thing, but a PEA cookie, you might ask? I know, I know—it's a little weird, but hear me out. Back in October, some friends from out of town were visiting, and, having heard me and others (like Bon Appétit magazine) rave about Rose's Luxury here in DC, they were itching to go. On a Saturday evening, we waited in line the requisite 1 1/2 hours (really not that bad). As you might expect, the entire dinner was fabulous, with such an air of comfort and pleasantness and, yes, a little bit o' luxury, but what really did it for me was in the final blow by way of THE PEA CAKE. Our server told us it was a yellow cake with peas in it (we imagined peas mixed in throughout, like chocolate in a chocolate chip cookie), but when it came out, it was bright green, served with a mint curd, pea shoots, borage, and candied pistachios. It tasted like SPRING and literally sent shivers down my spine.
Ever since then, I've been wanting to put peas in my sweet baked goods. I found a similar green pea cake recipe. But I got to thinking: Would a pea cookie work? After I confirmed my hunch that green pea flour is actually "a thing," I ordered some from Bob's Red Mill, along with some freeze-dried peas, and gave it a go. The result is maybe not on a Rose's Luxury level (not much is), but these Pea Cookies are soft and sweet, not to mention unusually fresh-tasting and brilliantly colored. As a childhood pea-hater, I wish I'd been offered these as an option.
You may be skeptical about a recipe for pea cookies, and I don't blame you. When I tasted a little of the raw dough I was a bit worried. After tasting the finished cookie I was beguiled. The overtly pea-flavored dough had transformed into a barely vegetal and slightly nutty sugar cookie. It's the kind of subtle flavor that makes you think you'll have it figured out after another bite or two, but you'll be wrong. The recipe makes 12 large cookies, though claims to make 2 dozen servings -- prudent perhaps, but don't expect me to share my cookie since I've not quite put my finger on that intriguing flavor. —hardlikearmour
unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups
1 1/3 cups
green pea flour (available from Bob's Red Mill)
freeze-dried pea powder (to make, pulverize freeze-dried peas like "Just Peas" from the Just Tomatoes brand, in a blender)
In This Recipe
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour, green pea flour, pea powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup measure cup, portion out the dough on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie domes flat (I used the bottom of a jar for this). Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake the cookies at room temperature—they will not bake properly.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. They should be a little brown on the edges but still bright green in the center—give them an extra minute if they're not.
Cool the cookies completely on sheet pans before transferring to a plate or airtight container for storage. At room temperature, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.
Emily Hilliard is the West Virginia state folklorist at the West Virginia Humanities Council. Her work has been published by NPR, Food52, The Southern Foodways Alliance, Design* Sponge, Lucky Peach, and others. She writes about pie at nothinginthehouse.com.