Why Citrus Cookies Need A Pinch Of Savory Coriander

Citrus cookies can be a tough dessert to bake, requiring a balance between both tart and sweet. Lean too far one way, and you have a cookie that will make your mouth pucker. Fortunately, a dash of coriander might be just what those citrus cookies needed. Ground coriander complements citrus cookies surprisingly well, giving the cookie a sweet, nutty flavor. Unlike nutmeg and ground cinnamon (two popular cookie spices), coriander is lighter making it perfect for cookies that have a bit of zest but could use a balance. 

In fact, historian and home chef Jon Townsend suggests grinding up fresh coriander to give your cookies an extra kick, saying, "Get some coriander seed and grind it up if you want all of that coriander flavor." While coriander may not be everyone's go-to spice for cookies, it's actually been well regard in baking for centuries. Coriander was traded far and wide during the Roman Empire and was often paired with bread.

Going as far back as 2,500 BCE, coriander was recorded for its medicinal properties. The spice reportedly offers health benefits such as promoting gut health and fighting infection. But more and more people are discovering how useful it can be in baking both cookies and other desserts.

Coriander is a versatile spice in the kitchen

While many citrus cookie recipes call for ground coriander or coriander seeds, "MasterChef" India Season 4 Winner Nikita Gandhi Patni actually uses chopped coriander leaves in her spicy teatime cookies. Several restaurants have started experimenting with coriander as well. Take The LoFi Bar in Hougang, Singapore for instance, which features an artisanal Coriander Gelato laid on top of Mala Waffles, or Qingyuan Taro Ball, which made a coriander bubble tea. 

Outside of citrus cookies, coriander also pairs incredibly well with blueberries for the same reason — it goes well with the fruit's natural flavors. Culinary expert Niki Segnit mentions in her book "The Flavor Thesaurus" (via Epicurious), "Coriander seeds can contain up to 85 percent linalool, a flavor compound with a woody, floral, slightly citrusy quality that's a key component of synthesized blueberry flavor. Freshly ground, they can lend a fragrant background note to your home-baked blueberry muffins."

In fact, "MasterChef" Season 7 contestant and pastry chef D'Andre Balaoing wishes the spice was used more often, given its ability to bring out flavors whether it be citrus cookies or blueberry muffins, or even fish. Balaoing said, "It's my MVP, and I actually toast and grind the coriander myself. It goes in everything,"