I recently stumbled across the open-air food market, “Smorgasburg” in NYC, which is known for its assortment of local, tasty and sometimes completely bizarre foods. Which brings me to the weirdest cookies I have ever eaten. Specifically, the wasabi-horseradish-candied ginger cookie made by Weird Ass Cookies.
I came across this company and its two Jewish founders, Ben Unger and Ruby Schechter, standing in front of a bright purple “Weird Ass Cookies” sign, presenting a truly strange assortment of cookies. In addition to their cookie featuring horseradish, the Weird Ass Cookies selection includes a beet-goat cheese-tahini-dill cookie, a pineapple-jalapeño-red onion cookie and a dark chocolate-mushroom-hazelnut-rosemary cookie.
You may hear of these flavors and ask yourself, “why?” However, when you decide to take the plunge (and a bite) the next question is “why not?” They’re genuinely, really very good.
“The horseradish, wasabi pea and candied ginger cookie was inspired by our love for gefilte fish and horseradish,” the owners tell me. “The idea came to us when we were taking a walk and both craving a cookie. We were trying to figure out where we should go to get one and kept saying how bored we were with the cookie shops we normally go to. So we decided at that moment to start baking a different kind of cookie. And Weird Ass Cookies was born.”
The cookies have plenty of familiarity to them; they are buttery, sweet and soft. And you’d be surprised which savory flavors work well in the mix. I never would have guessed that wasabi and horseradish can somehow work in the context of dessert, but they do. The beet-goat-cheese-tahini-dill cookie took a bit more courage on my end, but also works in a way I couldn’t have expected. The tahini blends well with the more robust flavors of the cookie in a way that can only make sense once you try it.
Having grown up in a Jewish household, there is certainly a sense of familiarity and fondness I have for flavors like horseradish and dill. Of course these are flavors that I more often associate with savory cuisine but I am always excited to run into folks trying to reinvent a food that is familiar, especially when it comes to Jewish cuisine, which is ever-evolving. You can find Weird Ass Cookies at Smorgasburg in New York City, which runs until the end of the summer, or order them online (currently only available for delivery within New York City).