Memory-Scented Sugar Cookies

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I’m pretty sure this cookie was subconsciously inspired. Initially, I was simply charged with making a vegan sugar cookie. Then I remembered I had dried shredded coconut in the pantry. One thing led to another. I remembered my upcoming trip to visit Nanditha, and Manan’s mom’s secret chai tea recipe, and Courtney’s favorite cookie from Busch’s. Next thing I knew, I had created the best baked good since the Peach-Strawberry Shortcake that I made back in January (and at the request of a friend will be making again next month for her birthday… will post recipe for the cake then)... Here’s the recipe.

Memory-Scented Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup Earth Balance ‘butter’–softened
2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I used vegan)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar–packed
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1 chai tea bag
1 pinch saffron
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries–roughly chopped
1/3 cup dry roasted and salted pistachios–roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
zest of one orange (approx. 1 tablespoon)

*Mix almond milk, saffron, and extracts in a saucepan. Add tea bag. Heat on high until hot. Turn heat off. Add to small bowl and put in freezer (leave the tea bag in the liquid).

*Combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.

*Chop cranberries, pistachios, and orange zest. Mix. Combine with dried coconut. Set aside.

*Beat (use electric mixer or stand up mixer) softened “butter,” sugars, and cream cheese until fluffy. Add almond milk (take out the tea bag of course).

*Add 1/2 of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Add other 1/2 of dry ingredients, as well as all of the mix-ins.

*Refrigerate for at least a half hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop dough onto cookie sheet (either line with foil or spray lightly with cooking spray). [Note: the cookies do not spread very much, so you can pack them on the cookie sheet, but they shouldn’t touch.]

*Bake 8-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Hands down, one of the best parts of making this cookie was the first step–making the saffron chai. The house smelled so good, and coupled with zesting the orange, I felt that I could have eaten the aromas and been satisfied.

Other notes:
*This is a hearty cookie. There are a lot of mix-ins and I used whole wheat and all purpose flour. This made a texture that was somewhere between a cookie and a scone. I really like the texture, but if you want to lighten it up, you may want to use all White all-purpose flour.

*This is not a super sweet cookie–again, which I like. The recipe can be tweaked to make it sweeter, however. The recipe could probably hold up to a cup of sugar. Also, using sweetened coconut would increase the sweetness. Lastly, I melted some apricot preserves and drizzled it on some of the cookies. This was nice. It increased the sweetness–subtly–without overwhelming the already complex cookie.

*For those who bake regularly, you’ll notice that there’s no salt in the recipe. This is because I used dry-roasted and salted pistachios. The salt from the pistachios was enough to cut the sweetness and to enhance the overall flavors of the cookie.

* I only baked a few cookies, as I did not want to eat all of them in one sitting. This dough can be refrigerated, so that cookies can be baked throughout the week.

*I could not stop eating this cookie dough! I immediately imagined coconut ice cream with frozen pieces of Memory-Scented Sugar Cookie Dough. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. umm…these look yummy. I'm trying to imagine all the wonderful scents.

  2. No need to imagine, I brought some for our meeting tonight. Oh, the benefits of being local!