The Washington Post

Sandra Fairbank's Tiny Poppy Seed Cookies

Sandra Fairbank's Tiny Poppy Seed Cookies 72.000

Julia Ewan

Holiday Cookies 2007 Dec 12, 2007

Peppery poppy seeds and lemon zest flavor these small and tender cookies. If you don't care for the seeds, substitute chocolate nibs, ground cardamom, chopped pistachios or chopped candied ginger. These cookies were developed by Sandra Fairbank, an architect and friend of cookbook author Sally Sampson.

STORE: In an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. The dough may be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days, or wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. Baked cookies may be frozen for up to 2 months.

Servings: 72 cookies
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, each stick cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest


Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer; beat for several minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, then the vanilla extract, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add the flour, baking powder and salt; beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the poppy seeds and lemon zest; beat until well distributed.

Divide the dough into 3 balls and place each ball inside the center of a large resealable plastic food storage bag. Place each bag on the counter and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the center toward the edges until it is an even 1/4 inch thick. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. (Alternatively, roll the dough into a compact log that is 1 inch in diameter, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate as directed.)

When ready to bake, position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove 1 bag of dough at a time from the refrigerator.

Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter to punch out cookies (or slice 1/4-inch-thick rounds from the dough log) and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet; gather scraps and reroll the dough as necessary. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "Cookies: 52 Easy Recipes for Year-Round Baking," by Sally Sampson (Wiley, 2007).

Tested by Maryann Haggerty.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (0)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie: 49

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 3g 5%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 11mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 5g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: n/a

Protein: 1g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle