Spring Parsnip Cookies

Parsnips and carrots were on the menu when I first started at Hungry Mother.  The chef would sauté them in butter and thyme till just barely tender, then finish them off during service.  The partially cooked obliques would make their way onto a sheet tray into the walk-in to be cooled, and consequently into my mouth!! They are one of the sweetest and most delicious vegetables I have ever tasted.  Sweet like a carrot with a hint of anise flavor, these relatives of the carrot are not quite as pretty.  However, carrots have become as common as celery so the parsnip offers a little uniqueness to the spring table.

This past week I have been using them as a base for a baked custard pie, served with sweetened whip cream and a little dusting of nutmeg, it has been a big hit.   As I was thinking about what to make for the Taste of the Nation we were participating in I came around to the parsnip.  I found a few “Vermont Grown” gems at the grocery store and scooped them up.  I remember I had seen a carrot cookie recipe in my favorite Dorie Greenspan book Baking from My Home to Yours. After looking it over I decided to see what I could whip up in the form of a cookie using my parsnips.  The recipe I derived is below and I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor and texture of these cookies.  I find Dorie sometimes throws way too many ingredients in her cookies so I cut this one down to just parsnips and walnuts, the result is a slightly cake like cookie that retains some crispy texture from the bottom and edges.  The flavor of the parsnips is lovely and the walnuts add both texture and a little nutty flavor to complement the sweet veggies.

As I was reading up on parsnips I found this article from the Boston Globe circa 2005 that explains the  excitement behind the spring parsnip.  Keep your eyes open at your local market, if you can’t find them then some sweet organic carrots will probably be quite delicious as well.

Spring Parsnip Cookies

yields @ 3 dozen

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups grated parsnip

Preheat oven for 357 degrees and have two cookie sheets ready and lined with parchment.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter till smooth, add sugar and mix on med. high for a minute or two till light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and fresh ginger.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in another bowl and add them to the egg and butter mixture, mix gently until combined, add parsnips and mix/pulse a few more times, scrape and make sure all ingredients are incorporated evenly.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes.  Rotate pan and continue till the edges are just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.  These would also be delicious with dried fruits or nuts.  (I added black walnuts at the restaurant and then were amazing).

Leave a comment


  1. Donna Frost

     /  March 24, 2012

    I found your recipe when I googled for a cookie recipe that uses parsnips. I notice that your recipe does not contain any baking powder or baking soda. Is this correct? I ended up making changes because I thought I should add both, then decided I wanted to add raisins and oatmeal. The cookies came out pretty good and I got requests for the recipe. I thought I should tell you that I want to improve your recipe and I’m posting it on chowhound (home cooking forum) for suggestions.

    • htcakes

       /  March 26, 2012

      Thanks Donna. Raisins sound like a nice addition. I am re-reading my recipe notes and I think I might have actually used a tsp of baking powder in these but didn’t type up the recipe correctly. If you like the them with both baking soda and baking powder then maybe I will try them!

  1. Fresh from the Market: Spring Parsnips « Cheery Observations

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