Other than their occasional presence in tea and jam, rosehips haven’t surfaced much in my life. I suppose they’ve been overshadowed by the ubiquitous flowers of the same plant: roses (which have an entirely different scent and flavor than the fruit we call their hips).
I admit I still haven’t had a chance to taste a fresh rosehip, but I’ve now tried dried rosehips in both whole and powdered form. Earthy and subtly tangy, their flavor brought to mind the wholemeal taste of graham crackers or digestive biscuits — both of which I’ve long found addicting and wondrously versatile. But for some reason I’d never endeavored to make my own at home. Until now.
Not surprisingly, homemade graham crackers taste far better than store-bought, even if I have some nostalgia for the latter. Since whole dried rosehips are very rigid, I chose rosehip powder (available at health-food stores or herb shops like Berkeley’s own Lhasa Kharnak) and sifted it into an eggless dough made with butter, honey and brown sugar. I decided on coin-sized treats that would not only be adorable but also easy to toss over ice cream, cover with milk, or snack on like popcorn. This recipe yields over 7 dozen cookies, but with their tiny size and delectable flavor, they are sure to disappear fast.
Mini rosehip graham crackers (makes about 90 little cookies: 1.25″/3cm diameter each)
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/4 cup dried rosehip powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder (optional)
Beat together the butter, brown sugar and honey until smooth and even. Sift remaining ingredients over the butter mixture, and beat until an even, thick dough has formed, and all ingredients are incorporated. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill for at least 30 minutes. (At this point you may refrigerate it up to 2 days, or freeze it for a few weeks — but if doing so, wrap it more tightly and seal in a container with a lid.)
While the dough chills, preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Lightly dust a flat work surface with flour, and dust a thin spatula, a rolling pin, and a 1.25″ round cookie cutter — or a makeshift cookie cutter, such as the lid of a bottle or the large end of a jumbo piping tip, like I used. (Feel free to make yours a different size, but adjust the baking time accordingly and note that the total number of cookies will differ.)
Pierce the cookies with the prongs a fork to make an asterisk of indentations on each one, but don’t push all the way through. Bake, one cookie sheet at a time, for about 8 minutes or until bottoms are toasty brown and tops look dry. (Watch carefully and start checking at the 6 minute mark; with their petite size, they can burn fast.) Remove from oven and let cookies sit on warm cookie sheets for 10 minutes before attempting to move or eat. If not eating right away, let the cookies cool completely, then store them in a sealed container at room temperature.
Delicious things happen…
When homemade honey grahams meet the unexpected but delectable flavor of rosehips, delicious things happen. The rosehips bring a perfect bit of earthiness that’s almost herbal-tasting, along with a faint whisper of tartness reminiscent of fresh sourdough bread. Crisp and buttery, rosehip graham crackers are so tasty, light and small, they’re simply addictive. Enjoy a bowl of them on their own, alongside coffee or tea, or any way you’ve eaten graham crackers (pie or cheesecake crust, anyone?). What’s more: rosehips are known for their many health benefits, while graham crackers come with their own interesting history of virtue.
Moriah VanVleet is the voice behind butter, sugar, flowers where this recipe first appeared.
See Moriah’s other sweet recipes published on Nosh.
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