Top 10 Homemade Irish Cookies (aka Biscuits)
With the holidays right around the corner, ‘tis the season to bake cookies. While baking cookies is certainly not only an Irish tradition, we do enjoy a spot of festive baking. And thanks to our high-quality Irish ingredients, we have some tantalizing homemade cookie recipes.
If you have ever sampled Irish food, you will know that there is nothing quite like our pure Irish butter, creamy milk, or homegrown cheese. When combined, these world-class ingredients make for some absolutely delectable cookies (yes, even the cheese).
Just like families all over the globe, it’s a common tradition to bake cookies for the Christmas holidays. So to get you ready for the festivities, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best homemade Irish cookies to bake this holiday season.
10 of the Best Homemade Irish Cookies
Here are our top 10 tasty Irish-style cookies to bake on a rainy winter’s day. Best enjoyed with good conversation and a nice cup of tea.
1. Homemade Mikado Biscuits
Everyone in Ireland knows the iconic cookie trio known affectionately as the holy trinity. The trio is made by one of Ireland’s oldest cookie manufacturers, Jacob’s. Usually kept for special occasions, Jacob’s Kimberleys, Coconut Creams, and Mikado biscuits are Irish institutions.
Mikados are crumbly golden biscuits topped with two strips of sweet pink mallow and a line of tart raspberry jam down the center. If you have never experienced the joy of these classics, you need to try these homemade Mikado biscuits.
Make your own version by mixing together butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, and buttermilk and baking until golden. You want a firm dough. For best results, let your cookie dough chill overnight. Once your biscuits are baked, top them with piped marshmallow and raspberry jam. Finish with a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and leave to set. These are a real hit with the kids.
2. Irish Shortbread
Shortbread may have its roots in Scotland, but Irish shortbread is not to be missed. It’s all down to the pure Irish butter. Creamy Irish butter gives the shortbread a rich and flaky texture that melts in the mouth.
Shortbread is a popular treat in Ireland. It’s simple to bake and the perfect companion for a cup of tea. Make your own Irish shortbread by creaming unsalted butter and sugar together with some cornstarch and flour. Prick the dough with a fork and bake for 30 minutes. Then, reduce the heat and bake for another hour and a half until lightly golden. Cut your baked dough into fingers and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve your Irish shortbread with a steaming cup of tea, or a rich Irish coffee for the adults. Simply divine.
3. Irish Lace Cookies
Irish lace is world-famous. During the Irish famine, it was worn by the wealthiest ladies across Europe. It was instantly recognized thanks to its unique pattern, with Irish lacemakers often taking inspiration from nature.
Lace cookies get their name because of their distinctive design, which is very similar to Irish lace. These wafer-thin biscuits are crispy, sweet, and have a glorious snap. To make them, mix pure Irish butter, sugar, flour, salt, and oats with a ¼ cup of milk. Then, spread them thinly on a baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes. The biscuits should be delicate and thin, just like lace.
Many people roll the lace cookies and fill them with a creamy filling made with butter, sugar, and a generous slug of Bailey’s Irish Cream. They’re the perfect after-dinner biscuit.
4. Irish Soda Bread Cookies
If you haven’t tasted Ireland’s famous soda bread, you are sorely missing out. This iconic bread is an Irish staple. Its light and fluffy texture makes it the ideal partner for a cooked Irish breakfast, a hearty Irish stew, or simply smeared with butter. It may be a no-frills flatbread, but it’s tricky to get right.
These Irish soda bread biscuits are a great alternative to the traditional soda farl. Perfect for Saint Patrick’s day or over the holiday season, they are warming, doughy, and sweet.
To make, combine sugar, flour, baking soda, caraway, and salt. Then, add butter until the mixture is coarse. Next, stir in currants (or cranberries for a festive flavour). Pour in a beaten egg and buttermilk, mixing with a fork until the dough is soft. Knead your dough and cut it into triangles before baking until they are lightly golden.
A new take on an old classic, these cookies are a sweet nod to an age-old Irish delicacy.
5. Cheesy Irish Shamrock Cookies
While it’s true that Irish biscuits tend to be sweet, there are plenty of sensational savory biscuits too. Irish cuisine has evolved immensely in recent years, and the top Irish chefs are becoming renowned for their innovative and surprising flavor pairings. This combination of exciting flavors and the finest-quality local products has well and truly put Ireland on the map.
And we couldn’t include a savory biscuit on our list without mentioning Irish cheese. Irish cheese is one-of-a-kind.
We boast some of the best conditions for dairy farming on the planet, making our cheese creamy, rich, and sumptuous. So, number 5 on our list are these cheesy shamrock cookies. The shamrock shape makes them perfect for Saint Patrick’s day celebrations, but they would also work great paired with your favorite Irish cheese and some chutney on a Christmas cheese platter.
Combine grated mature Irish cheese with flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix in the butter, rubbing until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Next, add egg yolks and mix until the dough becomes a ball. Knead the dough until smooth and use a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter to cut them. Chill for at least 30 minutes before baking until golden. Leave to cool before enjoying alone or on a cheeseboard.
6. Irish Gingernut Cookies
The holiday season and cold winter days are fast approaching. So, it’s time for some festive baking. Gingernut cookies are a popular Irish treat for warming the cockles when the weather outside is frightful.
Ginger cookies have long been a staple across Europe, and Ireland is no exception. You can find ginger cookies in almost every cookies jar across the country. Plus, the firm texture makes them perfect for dunking in a hot Irish tea. Warming, crunchy, and oh-so-yummy, these homemade gingernut cookies are a winner.
Start by combining Irish butter with flour, caster sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder. Next, add some golden syrup and mix well. Roll the mixture into small balls and bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool before serving with a hot beverage of choice.
7. Irish Whiskey Oat Cookies
It’s no secret that the Irish love a boozy dessert. And it’s hardly surprising since Ireland is home to the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery, Bushmills.
If you’re a whiskey lover, you have to try these whiskey-infused oat cookies. Only the finest Irish whiskey is used to elevate a classic oat cookies and add a splash of opulence.
These boozy cookies are made from grass-fed Irish butter (Kerrygold is a personal favorite), brown sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, Irish steel-cut oats, and a pinch of cinnamon. Mix your ingredients together and lightly roll the dough into balls. Bake for 11-12 minutes until golden with a light crunch.
For a truly Irish experience, dunk your cookies in a cup of Irish breakfast tea.
8. Homemade Digestives
Fun fact: Digestive cookies actually hail from Scotland, not Ireland. However, Ireland has certainly adopted this versatile cookie.
Digestives are semi-sweet, round cookies that can be served on their own or used as a crust for cheesecakes and pies. They are affordable and simple, making them a firm favorite with Irish mammies. Plus, you can elevate them by topping with milk chocolate or a simple smear of pure Irish butter.
Digestives got their name because the original creators believed that the sodium bicarbonate acted as an antacid. While this has never been proven, the humble digestive has certainly stood the test of time. Here’s how to make your own homemade digestive cookies, Irish style.
Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl and then rub the Irish butter into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Next, add milk and work the mixture until it forms a dough. Roll your dough out and cut it into circles. Finally, prick the dough with a fork and bake until the cookies turn a pale golden color.
Digestives are the gold standard of tea-dunking cookies. So, enjoy them with a cup of strong Irish tea on your 11 o’clock tea break or as an after-dinner treat.
9. Bailey’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bailey’s cream is one of Ireland’s finest exports. This rich and creamy liqueur is often enjoyed after a meal, especially around Christmas.
However, Bailey’s Irish Cream isn’t just for drinking, it’s also the perfect addition to any baking recipe. In fact, Bailey’s is a popular staple in many Irish desserts and biscuits. Like these Bailey’s oatmeal choc-chip cookies.
Firstly, let’s clear something up. In Ireland, American cookies are known as biscuits. Biscuits are typically sweet and crisp, with some crunch. For the Irish, however, cookies specifically refer to soft, chewy biscuits that usually contain chunks of chocolate or raisins. So, these mouthwatering biscuits would actually be referred to as cookies in the Emerald Isle. Enough babbling, here’s how to make them.
First, make your cookie dough by combining unsalted Irish butter with brown and white sugar. Cream the mixture until light and fluffy. Next, mix in eggs and vanilla extract. Then, add oats, baking soda, baking powder, flour, and a pinch of salt and mix well. The key to these extra-decadent cookies is in the chocolate chips. Fold in Bailey’s-infused chocolate chips (shop-bought or homemade) and chill the dough for 30 minutes before baking. Roll the dough into little balls and bake until the cookies are golden.
These are best served warm, at any time of the day. You really can’t go wrong.
10. Guinness Chocolate Cookies
Let’s finish with another Irish institution, Guinness. This Irish dry stout is one of our most well-known exports. But, every Irish person knows that a pint of Guinness never tastes better than in Ireland. This is partly because Guinness doesn’t travel well and partly because there’s a knack for pouring it. So, if you want to taste a proper pint of Guinness, you will need to make sure you are on Irish shores. Now back to the cookies.
Guinness has long been an ingredient in Irish cooking, and baking is no exception. The creamy, slightly bitter stout is a welcome addition to desserts and cookies and intensifies the rich flavor of chocolate – like in these rich Guinness chocolate cookies.
Start by gently reducing Guinness and brown sugar in a pan then set aside to cool. Next, beat Irish butter and add sugar before beating again. Beat an egg and vanilla extract into the mixture, then add the cool Guinness mixture. Fold in flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and roll the dough into small balls. Chill the dough for a few hours before baking for 8-10 minutes. Once baked, let your cookies cool before enjoying them with friends.
The perfect treat for Saint Patrick’s day, Christmas, or any celebration that calls for a splash of decadence.
Although we are best known for our bread and cakes, the Irish take their cookies very seriously. Most commonly enjoyed with a nice cup of tea, homemade cookies are a staple, especially popular in the run-up to Christmas.
Whether you like a simple oat cookies made with quality Irish ingredients or a boozy cookies with some fine Irish whiskey, there’s a recipe for you. Irish cuisine is known for its simplicity – fresh ingredients lovingly prepared and innovative flavor pairings. And Irish cookies are no different. Simple but decadent, these recipes are sure to be a hit with your friends and family this holiday season.
Related: Traditional Irish Christmas Dinner
Related: Popular Irish Desserts