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Lemongrass and pandan Christmas sugar cookies

Lemongrass confetti and pandan extract (similar to vanilla extract) infuse these simple sugar cookies with unique flavors. Decorate them with colorful sprinkles or other favorite toppings. 

By The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook / December 19, 2013

These lemongrass and pandan cookies started as an experiment and are now a Christmas cookie tradition.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

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Growing up, my family didn’t have a tradition of baking Christmas cookies. My mom would place several orders of Bûche de Noël (Christmas log cake) for our family dinner on Christmas eve and to give away to friends but nary a sugar cookie was in sight.

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Guest Blogger

Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Patricia Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens and has been published in numerous national and regional publications. Pat is also the creator of the “Asian Ingredients 101” iPhone and Android app, a glossary on-the-go that’s the perfect companion on a trip to the Asian market. Her first book, "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens," will be available in paperback in September 2012.

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I never realized what I was missing until I moved to the United States where everyone I met seemed to have a favorite family Christmas cookie. My husband has fond memories of churning out pizzelles (even though his adopted family is of mostly German descent, go figure!) in a pizzelle iron with his sister. My church friend Karen introduced me to biscochitos, or Mexican wedding cookies, the official cookie of New Mexico. And Deb was baking glazed lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) months before Christmas, packing them into tins to “age.”

When my sister and I lived in the same city for a couple of years, we baked an assortment of Christmas cookies to share with our friends: Snickerdoodles, Mexican wedding cookies, thumbprint cookies, etc. But that arrangement didn’t last after we moved away.

Two years ago, when my son was a year and some, I decided I wanted to create my own Christmas cookie tradition. These lemongrass and pandan cookies were the result of my experimentation (read my original post here).

To make them festive for the season, I sprinkled the cookies liberally with colored sugar. Stacked, wrapped in cellophane, and tied with a bow, they make a lovely edible gift. Or, invite your girlfriends over for a spot of afternoon tea to escape the hectic atmosphere of the season and a plate piled with cookies will be a welcome – and pretty to look at – treat on your table. 

Lemongrass and pandan Christmas sugar cookies
Adapted from Easy Sugar Cookies on Allrecipes.com
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Cake flour produces a softer cookie with a finer crumb and I combined it with white whole wheat flour (that’s what I had but you can use all-purpose flour, too) so that it would still stand up as a sugar cookie. You can make the cookies entirely with all-purpose flour if you desire. I also prefer natural cane sugar to white granulated sugar. I like its richer, almost molasses-like flavor. If you prefer a sweeter cookie, add up to 1/2 cup more sugar.

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup natural cane sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup lemongrass confetti (see below)

1 tablespoon pandan extract (see below), or 1/2 teaspoon pandan paste (available at Asian markets)

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