These hibiscus sugar cookies are chewy, floral and delicious! They are buttery cookies studded with chocolate chips and have a delicious fresh taste thanks to lemon zest and hibiscus! These cookies can be made without a mixer and they’re a no chill recipe!
These hibiscus cookies have an addicting chewy texture and lovely bright taste. They’re lightly coated with sugar and are hinted with vanilla, lemon zest and hibiscus. A handful of chocolate chips makes these cookies even more memorably delicious!
If you’re looking for more fresh tasting cookies, try my dainty and delicious Lemon Rose Water Cookies and these fruity Peach Cobbler Cookies.
Hibiscus is a flowering plant most commonly used to make tea. I first tried it in iced tea when I was traveling in Egypt. It has a tart, slightly floral taste that reminds me of the flavor of cranberries.
I have been wanting to bake with hibiscus for a while but I was waiting for the inspiration. The idea for these cookies came last week when my dad gave me the Brilliant Baking insert from the New York Times. The recipes inside encourage readers to wonder “How could this be done better?”
I wouldn’t say I made Yossy Arefi’s Chewy Earl Grey Sugar Cookies better, but I definitely came up with an amazing version of them! I swapped hibiscus for the Earl Grey, dark brown sugar for light brown and twice the amount of lemon zest for orange zest. Per the Times’ suggested addition, I added a handful of chocolate chips!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THESE COOKIES
- Thick and chewy: These thick cookies have nice chewy middles.
- Simple recipe: No chilling time required which makes them extra simple. Also, you can mix them with a whisk and a spatula. No mixer needed.
- Floral hibiscus: Hibiscus adds a lovely tart and floral taste which makes these cookies stand out from the rest.
- Lemon zest: Lemon brightens up the flavor and is so good in contrast with the buttery richness of these cookies.
- Chocolate chips- Chocolate chips are optional, but recommended. Chocolate tastes heavenly in combination with floral hibiscus.
Below are helpful notes about some of the ingredients. For the full list of ingredients and their measurements, see the recipe below.
- Dried hibiscus: Dried hibiscus is most commonly used to make tea in many countries. You can find dried hibiscus online or in spice stores and international stores.
- Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar for the extra molasses flavor. You can substitute light brown sugar.
- Lemon zest: I recommend using the zest from an organic lemon. Organic lemons don’t have the wax coating that regular lemons have and therefore have a fresher taste. Regular, non-organic lemons can also be used but make sure to wash them well. Orange zest can be substituted for lemon.
- Vanilla extract: For the best taste, I recommend pure vanilla extract. You can substitute imitation vanilla extract.
- Egg: A room temperature egg will better incorporate into the dough than a cold egg. Leave the egg out at room temperature for 1-2 hours before baking.
- Chocolate chips: I found 1/2 cup to be the perfect amount of chocolate. Anymore and they might overpower the other flavors.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: Steep the hibiscus in the butter. Grind or finely crush the hibiscus using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Combine the hibiscus and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. When it begins to sizzle around the edges, remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
STEP 2: Mix the hibiscus butter with the wet ingredients. Pour the hibiscus butter into a large mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, salt, lemon zest and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. Whisk for 30 seconds. Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk for another 30 seconds.
STEP 3: Add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips.
STEP 4: Form and bake the cookies. Fill a shallow dish with the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a measuring spoon, portion out the dough. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar. Place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 15-17 minutes, until light golden around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheets.
TIPS FOR MAKING THESE COOKIES
Use a a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to finely grind the hibiscus before steeping it.
I wouldn’t recommend using more than 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. This way, the chocolate are one of the many flavors in the cookies rather than being the standout star of the cookies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Hibiscus is a deep red plant that is enjoyed in many parts of the world as tea. You can most commonly find it dried or sold as hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus has a lovely tangy, floral taste. Their tart, fruity flavor is similar to cranberries.
You can find hibiscus in spice stores, international grocery stores, and online.
STORING AND FREEZING
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a few weeks.Print
Hibiscus Sugar Cookies
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 17 minutes
- Total Time: 47 minutes
- Yield: About 20 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Perfectly sweet hibiscus sugar cookies hinted with vanilla, lemon and hibiscus. They’re buttery, chewy and filled the perfect amount of chocolate chips!
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Spread 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a shallow dish or small bowl, set aside.
- Finely grind the hibiscus in a spice grinder, small food processor or mortar and pestle. Pour the ground hibiscus into a small saucepan with the butter. Set pan uncovered over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Heat until butter just begins to bubble around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
- Pour the hibiscus butter into a large mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, salt, lemon zest and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. Mix with a hand held mixer (or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) stir together with a whisk for 30 seconds. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix for another 30 seconds until combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips and mix on low speed or use a spatula to stir together until just combined. Do not overmix. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
- Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a measuring spoon to portion out the dough. Roll each ball in the reserved granulated sugar and place each dough ball 2 inches apart on the prepared baking trays.
- Bake until the cookies are lightly golden at the edges and crackled on top, 15-17 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on the baking sheets. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Keywords: cookies, hibiscus, lemon, lemon zest, chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from New York Times Cooking
Barbara Briggs Ward
Recipe sounds scrumptious. I not only love your recipes I always learn something new. I had no clue what hibiscus was until reading this recipe. Thanks!
Love to hear that!! It makes me happy to introduce people to new ingredients! 🙂