Make Ahead

Aunt Hetty's Poppy Seed Cookies

December  8, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Margot Mustich
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes 7 to 8 dozen
Author Notes

I snacked on these often when, as a child, I visited my grandparents in Deal, New Jersey. The recipe belonged to my great-aunt Hetty Frank, my paternal grandfather’s sister. These lovely little cookies, which attest to the Eastern European roots on that side of the family, have an intriguing flavor that makes them a refreshing departure from biscuits or shortbread with a cup of tea. They are also nice for dessert, paired with ripe strawberries or a bowl of fresh fruit salad.

My grandmother Minna Greenbaum and her sister-in-law Hetty undoubtedly used margarine back then, but I prefer the taste and texture of these cookies when they’re baked with sweet butter. This is one of three recipes I contributed to Molly O’Neill’s New York Cookbook. —Margot Mustich

What You'll Need
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • scant 1/2 cups poppy seeds
  • 6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and poppy seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter (or margarine) and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. Add egg mixture to butter and sugar and beat at a low speed until smooth.
  5. With the mixer still running on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Scrape down sides of the bowl, and then mix for a minute more.
  6. Roll the dough, about a teaspoon at a time, into little balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand to make rounds about ¼ inch high. Dip your palm into cold water if necessary to prevent it from sticking to the cookies.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Transfer the warm cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Stored in an airtight tin the cookies will stay fresh for at least 2 weeks.

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