Pine pollen and honey cookies are a love letter to the life of bees, and a little study in complimentary flavors you can use when cooking with pollen. Although bees (at least to my knowledge) don’t harvest pollen from pine trees or cattails, the flavors of pollen, and the inspiration you can use from this, definitely go hand in hand.
Pine pollen (cattail pollen too) has a natural affinity for honey and lemon, and showcasing that, along with making a simple, delicious shortbread-type cookie using only honey as the sweetener, is the big takeaway from this recipe I’m trying to share with you. The cookies are great, but you can also use the same technique and proportions with other simple quickbreads and batters like pollen pancakes and pollen bread.
Crisp or Chewy?
The age-old cookie question. Depending on how you like your cookies, you can adjust the cooking time here for the result you prefer. Cooking for 7-10 minutes will yield cookies that are more crisp, like a traditional shortbread, while the 5 minutes I suggest will give you more tender cookies that, in my mind are a better representation of the fudgy quality pollen gives to baked goods when used in a decent amount.
Pollen and Honey Cookies
- 1 stick butter at room temperature
- ¼ cup pine or other pollen
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup mild honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of half a lemon grated
- Mix the flour, salt and pollen. Whip the honey, lemon zest and butter until emulsified with a beaters, then add the flour-pollen mix and incorporate well, transfer to a sheet of buttered parchment, roll into a log and refrigerate to firm it up and hydrate the dough (this gives the cookies a better texture), overnight, or for at least a few hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Roll the log out to smooth it and form it into an attractive cylinder after chilling, then quickly cut into ½ inch rounds and lay them spaced out on a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet.
- Make a cross hatch in each cookie with the back of a knife, then bake, 5 minutes for tender cookies, 7-10 minutes for more crisp, traditional shortbread, erring on the side of under-versus over done.
- Cool the cookies and store in a covered container on the counter. They’ll last for 3-4 days.