French market cookies

It feels like a zombie is slowly sucking my brains out from some hole they’ve created between my shoulder blades.

Dear Body,

I promise to never ever ever pretend that I can spend a day without coffee again. My sincerest apologies.


As I type this, Joe is on his way to buy a frozen pizza from a CVS. Today, we suck. I blame my brain, which means I blame caffeine’s existence. Which means I have to admit that it’s my fault, because I could have just made coffee after my post-work nap. Instead, I had a beer. Pas cool, Megan.

Yesterday, I was a better person. There was a building event at the Orchard today, & I’d promised to provide cookies. I made them last night, & I try to bring vegan desserts so that everyone can enjoy them. I wanted to make my first truly unique cookie, a blend of savory & sweet that touched on some of my favorite memories from France.

While my time in the South has been limited (both Nice & Montpellier have been just weekend trips), I’ve felt the air against my skin just enough to know that something’s… different. Lavender, lemon & rosemary seem to surround you. Not only floating from the restaurant windows, but from the hair & arms & lips of the people you pass on the street.

When the air warms, even in our Northeast corner of France, from which people travel to the South like we Americans travel to Florida, the markets would be invaded by these summer scents that, at times, take your breath away.

I found a lotion at the grocery near our apartment last year. It was from a popular French brand, marked with a little Marseille fisherboy. Mediterranean breeze, they called it. We flew back to the States before I finished the bottle, & to this day, there’s a travel-sized bottle that I filled with the remains in our bathroom cupboard. When I miss France most, I open the lotion & let the memories drift back.

I wanted to bring these memories to a cookie, in the interesting sucré-salé (savory-sweet) trend of contemporary culinary experiments. Here’s what came out of it, a cookie that tastes like morning at the French street markets.


  • 3/4 cup room temperature Earth Balance (or butter, if you’re not doin’ the vegan thing)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vanilla sugar (or white sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil of your choice (canola, safflower, sunflower)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • (1 teaspoon vanilla if not using vanilla sugar)
  • 1 1/4 cups wheat flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • an extra 1/2 teaspoon of lavender

Then later

  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together the flower, baking soda & powder, spices & oatmeal. Set aside.
  2. In a second, larger bowl, whip the Earth Balance (or other non-butters, but this one’s great & they now how a no-soy version) until it looks smooth, pale yellow & soft (about 30 seconds).
  3. Add sugars to butter & cream. This will take about 1 and a half minutes. Be patient. Scrape the sides of the bowl, Get a nice, even texture.
  4. Add the water & oil (this is a basic egg substitute); add your vanilla if you didn’t use the vanilla sugar. Beat together until incorporated.
  5. While mixing on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients. When it gets too much for your mixer to handle, pour in the rest & fold it all together with a spatula. Be sure to really scrape the sides & bottom. You don’t want any unincorporated, powdery pockets when you start scooping it out.
  6. Scoop out a tablespoon of dough at a time,  rolling it into a ball & flattening it in the palm of your hand. Line on a cookie sheet, leaving an inch or two between cookies. (Everyone needs their personal space!) Bake eight minutes.
  7. Between batches, I put the dough in the fridge to keep a good consistency. If your kitchen isn’t too hot, this may not be a concern for you. Proceed to step 8.
  8. Let cool completely, then make a simple glaze. Mix the powdered sugar & lemon juice together, then smear a bit on the top of each cookie. Give it a few minutes to form a crispy shell on top before storing them in an airtight container. (But feel free to store them in your tummy immediately.)

About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being French, not French recipes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s