Poppy Seed Cookies 54.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Mar 7, 2017

Called noon-berenji, these light and airy cookies are eaten for Nowruz, the Persian new year, and by Persian Jews for the holiday of Purim.

These cookies, poppy seeds and all, are even better with a cup of strong coffee.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

Where to Buy: Dried rose petals are available at Mediterranean markets.

54 pieces

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 54 pieces

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup grapeseed, safflower or other good vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons rose water or orange blossom water
  • 4 to 5 cups rice flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • Dried rose petals, for serving (optional; see headnote)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are frothy and lightened in color, Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale yellow.

Whisk in the oil and rose water or orange blossom water until well incorporated, then use a wooden spoon to work in 1 cup of rice flour at a time, forming a dough that is soft and easy to handle yet firm enough to hold a shape. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

Shape the chilled dough into fifty-four 1-inch balls balls, spacing them at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Use your thumb to make a shallow indent in the top of each ball and fill with a good pinch of poppy seeds; the seeds should be gathered together in the indentation, rather than sprinkled over the top. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes, until they are just starting to brown.

Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with the dried rose petals before serving, if desired.

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Recipe Source

From Washington food writer Susan Barocas.

Tested by Susan Barocas and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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