It was the beverage heard 'round the fairgrounds.
Nordic Waffles' Kind of a Big Dill Pickle Lemonade was one of the sleeper hits at this year's Minnesota State Fair, and those flavors inspired local bakers to create cookies with similar ingredients — dill, lemon and pickles.
We thought the first pickle cookie recipe to hit our inbox for the 2023 Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest was a novel entry. Then came the second, third, fourth and fifth. That sealed it: Pickle cookies were officially a trend.
"I have to tell you; I hesitantly tried a Kind of a Big Dill Pickle Lemonade at the State Fair this summer. To my amazement, I loved it," Pat Britt of Eagan wrote in her entry. "With this fond memory in mind, I set out to create a cookie that captured that wonderful lemon and dill combination."
She experimented with lemon cookie recipes, finding that lemonade concentrate works the best. Britt also tinkered to get the correct ratios of lemon and dill, using different dill-flavored ingredients — dill weed and pickle relish — to punch up the pucker power. She provided two options for the glaze: one purely lemon, and one that double-downed on dill. (Choose wisely.)
"On a holiday cookie tray, why not?," asked Britt. "Give your traditionalists something to talk about."
And we did talk about it. The cookie advanced to the judging round, making the top 20, but didn't make it to the winner's circle of this year's contest. Still, we couldn't resist sharing Britt's recipe, recognizing that people are still relishing the pickle trend.
"Don't knock 'em DILL you try 'em," she concluded. And she's right. They may not be on our holiday cookie tray, but they can be on yours.
State Fair Dill Pickle Lemonade Cookies
Makes about 36 small cookies.
From Pat Britt of Eagan, who was inspired to create this recipe after trying — and loving — Nordic Waffles' Kind of a Big Dill Lemonade at the Minnesota State Fair. You'll need to prepare this cookie in advance to allow the dough time to chill.
For the cookies:
• 3 large lemons
• 3 c. all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 c. (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
• 1 c. granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 c. undiluted frozen lemonade concentrate (from a 15-oz. can)
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 3 heaping tbsp. dill pickle relish, with juices
• 3 tbsp. dried dill weed
For the glaze:
• 2 c. powdered sugar
• 4 tbsp. lemonade concentrate
• 3 tsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a zester or microplane to zest three lemons; set zest aside. Juice one of the lemons; set juice aside. (Reserve remaining zested lemons for another use.)
In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour and baking soda. Set aside.
In large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy.
Add flour mixture to creamed butter-egg mixture. Add 1/2 cup of lemonade concentrate and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice as you mix.
Stir in, by hand, 3 tablespoons of lemon zest, 3 heaping tablespoons of dill pickle relish and 3 tablespoons of dried dill weed, scraping bowl sides and incorporating ingredients evenly throughout dough.
Chill dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Using the smallest cookie scoop (a heaping teaspoon) drop dough 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on edges.
Transfer hot cookies to wire racks to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing 2 cups of powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemonade concentrate and 3 teaspoons lemon zest. Add additional lemonade concentrate until the desired consistency is formed.
Dip warm cookie tops in glaze and let cookies sit on cooling racks while the glaze hardens. (Hint: Put some parchment under the racks because the glaze may drip.)
Tip: For extra pickle flavor in the glaze, combine 4 tablespoons of dill pickle juice and 3 tablespoons of dill pickle relish with the powdered sugar instead of the lemonade concentrate.