I am working on a health-of-the-oceans-conscious holiday menu for later this week. In the meantime, if you’re looking for cookie recipes to give friends and family as gifts, here’s one I concocted for curried peanut butter cookies. I figure most people like curry and peanut noodles — why not combine the flavors and introduce a sweet/salty contrast?

The flavor of these cookies is subtle. You can’t necessarily tell there’s curry powder or orange juice in them. They just taste extra good in a mysterious way you put your finger on. One friend liked them, but her husband said he found them too spicy — it’s a matter of individual taste. My friend and I were actually thinking they could be even hotter, so next time I’m going to throw 1/4tsp of ground ginger into the dry ingredient mix and see what happens. I considered adding natural orange extract or zest for a stronger orange flavor, but in the end decided I wanted to concentrate on the peanut flavor.

These are incredibly crumbly — you can only move them with a spatula right when they come out of the oven, but they become more solid once they cool. Try them with a tall glass of cold milk.

I was able to find organic versions of all of the ingredients except the curry and baking powder, so you can make yourself — or your friends — sickish from eating too many cookies without fear of causing lasting damage to the planet. Ho ho ho.

Curried Peanut Butter Crumbles
Makes 20-24 cookies

1 and 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) room temperature unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
A little bit of extra flour for the fork, if needed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or line it with baking parchment paper.

Beat the peanut butter, orange juice, brown sugar, and butter until creamed. Add the egg and beat until it’s absorbed into the batter. You can do this with an electric mixer or by hand.

Combine the flour, curry powder, and baking powder. Add it to the wet ingredients a little at a time, beating it until it forms a dough. If you are using an electric mixer, do this on the lowest speed.

Take the dough out of the bowl. Break off small pieces that fill approximately 1 rounded tablespoon. (It doesn’t matter if it’s exactly 1 tablespoon, but you want the cookies to be of a similar size to one another so that they cook at the same rate and will be done at the same time.) Roll the chunks of dough into balls and place on the baking sheet. Squish them down gently using a fork. Then do it again with the fork tines in the perpendicular directions so that you get a criss-cross pattern. You may want to flour the fork between pressings so it doesn’t get stuck in the dough.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Don’t let them brown. Let them cool completely. They will seem extremely soft when you take them out of the oven but after they cool they will “set up” and be more solid and easier to move.

Drink a cold glass of milk while eating these. Ask your friends if they can identify the secret ingredients.