A Profusion of Poppy Seeds

Lemon Poppy Seed cookies.

So maybe you wouldn’t want to nibble on these cookies right before taking a physical, or more specifically, a drug test.

That’s because there is a profusion of poppy seeds in them. A whopping 1/3 cup to be precise.

And we wouldn’t want anyone to falsely test positive for opiates, would we?

But any other second of the day when you’re not due to see the doc, you’ll want to enjoy these lovely Lemon Poppy Seed Drops. The recipe is from “The Modern Baker” (DK) by baking authority Nick Malgieri, the former executive pastry chef of Windows on the World in New York City.

These just-sweet-enough cookies are all about the texture. The copious amounts of poppy seeds, along with a generous 1 2/3 cups finely chopped slivered almonds make these otherwise soft cookies do the bump and grind against your molars in a most delightful way.

Go ahead: Eat at least one of these cookies a day, and keep the doctor at bay.

Lemon Poppy Seed Drops

(Makes about 40 cookies)

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)

1/3 cup poppy seeds

1 2/3 cups slivered almonds, finely chopped but not ground, divided use

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs to break them up. Whisk in sugar in a stream, followed by the butter, lemon zest and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, poppy seeds, 1/3 cup almonds, the baking powder, and salt, and stir into egg and butter mixture.

Spread remaining 1 1/3 cups almonds on a plate. Roll about 1 teaspoon of dough at a time in the chopped almonds, then transfer to the prepared pans, 2 to 3 inches apart and flatten with the bottom of a glass. Repeat until all dough is gone.

Bake cookies until they are spread, well risen, and golden, about 15 minutes. About halfway through the baking, place pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa, turning pan back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, place pan on lower rack, stacked on top of a second one for insulation.

Slide parchment papers off the pans to cool the cookies.

From “The Modern Baker”

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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  • I love poppy seeds! These cookies sure look delightful! A great treat!



  • They look fantastic! I had all the ingredients and intended to make these a while back and then somehow didn’t get around to it. Some day, I’ll finally try these!

  • wow, that really is a heck of a lot of poppy seeds! but they sounds absolutely lovely. I love the specks they give to the cookies, and the fragrance too.

  • I heard a French patisserie sold this to Lance Armstrong a few years back. 😉

  • I love poppy seeds. Yum!!!

  • Oooh, Single Guy — touché!

  • Sounds wonderful to me. My husband is always afraid of the seeds getting stuck in his teeth, but me… no fears!

  • I wonder how true the whole thing about testing positive after eating poppy seeds is?

    I’m liking the idea of the crunch from the almonds and a different kind of crunch from the poppy seed. Love this combo in breads, I bet it’s even better in cookies!

  • I’ve never heard of poppy seeds in a cookie- yum! I’ll have to wait until after my appointment of friday to try these though…

  • You know how some food bloggers photograph their cookies all neatly stacked and tied with a pretty ribbon? Maybe I should have tied these with a bow of floss. heehee. Wouldn’t have to worry about the teeth then.

  • Mmm, those sound really good. Poppyseeds have been in the back of my mind for a while but I haven’t come up with anything I really want to make with them badly enough to justify the purchase. They do go so well with lemon and almond. Hmmm.

  • I like poppy seed anything, so the 1/3 of a cup doesn’t scare me at all.

    They look so pretty! These would be great to bring to a bake sale!

  • My first job-related drug test… failed. Foiled by my morning poppy seed bagel. I was too young to know any better… it was SO scary when they told me I failed! I’d do it all over again for those cookies though.

  • Carolyn, you know what? Poppy seeds are forbidden in my country… I won’t be able to get anything close, can I?

  • I am always afraid of needing a drug test (for what, I’m not sure), so I never eat poppy seeds. Which is a pity because those drops look and sound delicious.
    P.S. I tried Kara’s cupcakes after reading about them on your blog. Thank you for sharing the info!

  • I love poppy seeds in bread, scones, bagels … but I can’t think of a cookie I’ve ever had that used them. They look wonderful — something to try soon!

  • Mrs. Ergul: Wow, forbidden poppy seeds! Unbelievable. I guess you won’t be baking these cookies anytime soon then.

    EB: Oh my gawd. This actually happened to you? I guess that answers the question once and for all about whether poppy seeds foiling drug tests is a reality or an urban legend.

  • I’m so glad I found your website; its great! I’m bookmarking it right now!

  • I love poppy seeds and these cookies look absolutely scrumptious!

  • My brother’s first job test failed from a lemon poppyseed muffin. I had similar issues with the Hemp seed granola from Trader Joe’s – mu hubby just looked at me and said, “what were you thinking” However, I’m willing to risk it for these cookies, they look delicious.

    I was looking for a treat to make for some newly minted parents – this looks to be the perfect fit.

  • OysterCulture: Oh my gawd! Your brother, AND you? At this rate, poppy seeds might do us all in some day.

  • Thank goodness, I have no known drug tests approaching. I just made a batch and I only hope I can show restraint as I intend to give them as a gift – a friend just had a baby. If not, a French Boulangerie is near their place – that is in the back of my mind. They are delicious and quick to put together.

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