If I said “Ox Tongue” cookies, would you know what I’m talking about? Maybe “Cow Tongue” or “Spice Tongue” cookies? I feel like these all might be the secret passwords to a quiet PA Dutch baking club.
As it turns out, Ox Tongue Cookies are a sweet and spicy PA Dutch recipe with deep roots. I recently connected with my summer kitchen cooking friend, Terry Berger for a podcast episode. Terry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker by day and a scratch cook by night and on the weekends. We first met at this year’s Kutztown Folk Festival’s Summer Kitchen, where he helped organize and prepare daily meals to educate festival attendees about traditional PA Dutch recipes. He has a special love of cast iron stoves, which are used at the Festival.
Terry enjoys sharing recipes and stories that have significance and history. He often demonstrates cooking at regional cultural events; most recently he took part in “Christmas on the Farm,” held at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. Tune into the 2 Weird Hungry Girls Podcast to listen in on a chit chat about these cookies.
Ox Tongue Cookies, shared from Terry’s family’s recipe box, was prepared decades ago as a teaching tool for children, to remind them who first met the baby Jesus. It wasn’t wise men and shepherds, but the ox and lamb who welcomed His birth in the stable.
You can continue the tradition and use these cookies as a teaching tool …or you can tease your friends by packaging them in a beautifully ornate gift box, clearly labeled “Ox Tongue Cookies” (with no further explanation), and enjoy their reaction. These unique treats are also a great way to show your thanks during the holiday season – the recipe makes so many cookies, you’ll have plenty to share with your favorite barista, waitress, store clerk, etcetera!
ox tongue cookies
This recipe is easily doubled, and you can prepare it by hand or use a stand mixer (Terry mixes his cookies by hand). For Step 5, I adjusted Terry’s method and found it easier to use a 2-tablespoon ice cream scoop to scoop out about 8 pieces at a time and roll them in batches.
: Terry Berger for Phoebe's Pure Food
Serves: 80 cookies
- /2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1-1/2 cup Crisco, lard or butter
- 2 cups sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3 to 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the molasses, Crisco, sugar and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Combine thoroughly but don’t over-mix.
- Fill a small bowl with the ⅓ cup sugar. Form two tablespoons of dough into a short log, about 3” long, and roll in the sugar.
- Place the logs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cookies will spread.
- Bake at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.
Theresa Kurtz says
Hello! A friend (as a side note, this friend’s 94 year old aunt had just told her that she was so hungry for them) of my mother’s told her about this recipe and after she told me about it, I truly thought they were both putting me on!! After entering the crazy name of “Ox Tail Cookies” into my search engine, I was miraculously taken to your website where I indeed found out that these cookies are for real and you have the recipe! I have put your website into my “favorites” and when I have time, I am going to eagerly search your site. Thank you so much for proving that my mom and her friend are not crazy and for supplying us with what looks like another delicious cookie recipe! I also enjoyed your article on these cookies and have forwarded it to some family members. We live about 20 minutes away from Kutztown and are very familiar with the folk festival and many of the wonderful PA Dutch customs & recipes. Thank you again and keep on doing what you’re doing!!
Haha! Theresa, that is so funny! Who would guess, right? I will tell you that my batch (as I stated in the post) did not bake fluffy (like Terry’s batches) and it may be the temperature in the kitchen or over-beating of the butter butter either way, folks loved the taste of these cookies. I do how your batch works out. I’d love to know what you think.