Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Cookies

Serves: Makes about 30 cookies
Cost: ~€0.95
Preparation time: ~20 mins
Calories: ~90 calories per cookie

Hi folks, I hope this Wednesday sees you well! I’d promised you some photos a while ago and while I was going to post some photos from a trip to Stockholm last year I decided to post something rather more seasonal instead. How about a trip to a rather nice park in Paris?

There are many parks in Paris, though perhaps my favourite is the one I’ll be showing you a mere corner of today. I find parks here are often very neat – well tended, manicured lawns, which you’re not allowed to sit on of course, imposing stone fountains and statues. They have a place but I prefer something which seems a bit more natural. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Albert Kahn Gardens.

Founded in 1893 by Albert Kahn, a wealthy banker and philanthropist, it served for many years as his private garden, and meeting place for his intellectual-type buddies. Kahn travelled to Japan in 1909 and returned with many photos of the country, which served as inspiration for a large section of his garden – Japanese-style wooden structures, blossom and maple trees and stone ornaments which remain to this day – going there you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped right out of a park in Japan somewhere.

Albert Kahn Gardens

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 actually bankrupted Kahn and his beautiful garden was turned into a public park. While this must have been devastating for Kahn it was no doubt wonderful for the people of Paris and its suburbs, to be able to so easily view the beautiful collection of plants and trees which he had amassed.

Albert Kahn Gardens

I really recommend giving the place a visit if you can – it’s not expensive to go in, just €3 per adult I think, and it’s fascinating to walk around because there is so much variation. The garden covers 4 hectares and in that space you have the Japanese-inspired part, conifer forests, rose gardens, fruit trees, an orangery, ponds, bridges, small lakes, hillsides and rock formations – so much to see!

Albert Kahn Gardens

Spring time is the best I think – not too hot and you get to really appreciate the beautiful budding trees and fresh, green leaves.

Albert Kahn Gardens

You’ll need to plan a good few hours to visit the park, and make sure you arrive early if the weather is good. We made the mistake of visiting once on a warm Spring Sunday, just to be met by a rather sizeable queue snaking out of the front gate. The park itself is also a bit out of the way – in Boulogne-Billancourt, just outside Paris. While still connected with the city by bus and métro it is pretty much at the end of the line so plan your day accordingly!

Albert Kahn Gardens

As for today’s recipe, well, I so desperately wanted to use my new piping gun thing. I’d also been wanting to try these two flavours together in a cookie for a while so decided that there was no time like the present. How do they taste? Well – there’s no question about whether these are going to be usurping such delights as the chocolate chip, oatmeal and raisin or ginger cookie but they’re definitely tasty. The vinegar gives a complex background flavour and the little “grits” of freshly ground black pepper give a real bit of zing in your mouth when you bite down on one!

Eat them with fresh strawberries for a perfect blend of flavours :) Have a great end of the week everyone – I’ll see you back again on the weekend!

Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Cookies

[learn_more caption=”Video Recipe”]


Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Cookie ingredients

  • 180g Butter
  • 180g Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 280g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 heaped tsps freshly ground Black Pepper


  1. Start off by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and then cream the butter and sugar together well and add in the egg. Mix well and then stir in the flour and baking powder, bit by bit. Add in the the black pepper and balsamic vinegar and mix to form a thick paste.
    Adding in the vinegar and pepper
  2. Pipe the cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet – there will be enough dough for about 30 cookies. If you don’t have a piping bag or gun then simply form small balls of dough and flatten with a fork onto the tray.
    Piping the cookies
  3. Bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes, until starting to turn a nice golden brown. Enjoy on their own or with fresh strawberries for a great flavour combination.
    Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Cookies


  1. says

    Nice park indeed….le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres!

    Your cookies are very interesting and I’m sure they taste great….I love black pepper…But adding balsamic vinegar is something new to me..Brilliant.

    I like the shape? Did you use the spritz piping set?

  2. Eva says

    What an interesting park, Charles; thank you, I’ll put it on our list of things to do in the fall. I had one of those cookie press thingies a zillion years ago, I gave it away :(. Now every time I see one at a store I wonder if I should have it again! Go figure.
    Balsamic and black pepper sound great together. Your giving me inspiration yet again…thank you!

    • says

      Hi Eva, I’m really happy with the piping gun I bought… I love all the interchangeable bits and bobs – I’ve only tried this shape so far – can’t wait to start piping cake decorations and the like!

      I’d definitely check out this park – it’s so beautiful!

  3. says

    As soon as I read the title I had to read this – I was hooked! I don’t like well manicured gardens either – too much formality and stiffness for me. It’s so sad that this man with all the vision became bankrupt but at least what he had put together wasn’t destroyed. So lovely that it still exists and the public are allowed to enjoy it xx

    • says

      Thanks Charlie – I know right? Even in this park we got turfed off the grass when we were sitting on it once (turfed… haha!). You either have to secure a rare bench or keep standing. I mean come on – I know they want to keep it nice but I like sitting on grass :(

  4. says

    Welp, you’ve officially just made me extremely jealous. That tends to happen every time you post Paris photos. 😉 That park is stunning, and I am obsessed with shot of the red bridge…the reflection almost looks like dripping blood, or paint, haha. Anyways, on to the food…these cookies sound delicious, and what a unique flavor combo! Yum. :)

  5. says

    Beautiful pictures Charles! So sad the man lost everything that he had worked so hard for, but at least his legacy continues. Thank you for posting this.

    Such a delightful recipe…..cookie and vinegar – what an unusual combination!

    • says

      Thanks Minnie – there is a small museum and huge collection of photos at the site too – a very interesting trip out for sure :)

      • says

        Makes you realise how quickly life can take a turn around for even the best of us.

        I love history, and this is going into my ‘to visit’ places. I am specially fascinated by the Japanese influence this place seems to have.

  6. says

    Charles! You have me grinning from ear to ear! Do remember last summer in one of my posts I asked Miss A what she wanted me to make her for her birthday? She said… Balsamic cookies! Last year I found a chocolate balsamic cookie which Mr. N now wants for his birthday. So since it she has again requested balsamic cookies…you guessed it! This is them! Thank you!

    • says

      Aah, I remember!! I’d actually completely forgotten about it until you reminded me now… going to go and re-read your post now :) Can’t believe Mr N. wants them too after Miss A. – I mean, I love Balsamic as much as the next guy but damn, you can’t beat a good, rich chocolate cake in my opinion 😀

  7. says

    Gorgeous pictures, Charles. Thanks for sharing the story and agree that is so sad he lost everything he worked hard for…..kinda sounds like our economy today!
    I do remember Kristy’s recipe last year and now I’m going to have to try your recipe. I love balsamic but never tried it in a cookie, intriguing indeed!

    • says

      Hi Lisa – if you’re ever here, the park is well worth a visit! I’d actually forgotten about Kristy’s post until she reminded me, though I remember now that they looked rather good!

  8. says

    I enjoyed the pictures of the garden as they don’t seem to be too structured but as if the different elements grew there without too much human intervention. And the little cookies are charming. I’ve never used a spritz gun to make cookies though I have an inexpensive version (with various dyes) that I currently just use to fill up my cream puffs.

    • says

      Thanks A_ – definitely… of course there are some parts which seem quite man-made of course, but many sections are lovely… it seems almost like wild countryside, with a forest and little grassy glens :)

      Speaking of cream puffs – you reminded me… of course, now I can make eclairs and the like… I hadn’t thought of this at all! 😀

      • A_Boleyn says

        I have been looking up spritz cookie recipes, as I don’t think I’m adventurous enough for pepper and balsamic vinegar, and hints on how to use the gun and dyes (or are they called dies) properly. Any tips on proper technique to get the dough/batter to come out? :)

        • says

          What are dyes (dies?)… the only thing I can think of is colours, but maybe they mean something else?

          As for getting it out – it depends on the gun you have I think, but I found that holding it at a perfect right-angle to the tray, really, really close (about 5mm away), giving it a squeeze to get the cookie dough out, and then pushing down very gently as your finishing squeezing… seemed to work pretty well :)

  9. says

    Wow it must have been so expensive to bring materials from Japan to build the house. It’s sad or ironic (?) that Japan is losing more traditional homes like this and we have been building more Western looking homes (in some ways) while someone is trying to make Japanese style home outside of the country. Very beautiful garden! Balsamic vinegar in cookies? Never heard of before nor tried. I have so many things I haven’t tried before because I don’t bake I think… tsk tsk tsk.. :-( I want to eat these cookies!

    • says

      Thanks Nami – I guess it can’t have been cheap. Of course, the primary structure materials he would have found in France but it would still have cost a good amount to bring over the matting for the floor, the special paper for the doors. I think at one point he was visited here by the Emperor of Japan – or maybe he met the Emperor somewhere, or at least someone in the Japanese royal family? There’s a photo of them all together and I believe it was in his gardens in France, to celebrate the construction of the “Japanese part”.

  10. says

    These would be perfect with strawberries Charles! (I love strawberries with balsamic and black pepper in the summer.) Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private park? (One can always dream.) Lovely pictures. My favourite park in Paris is Luxembourg Gardens, although it is not nearly as unique as the Albert Kahn Gardens.

    • says

      Thanks Barb – Definitely – I wonder if they’d make a good cheesecake 😀

      Ah, can you imagine? Having a “back yard” this size as your own? I quite like the Luxembourg gardens although they’re similar to many other parks in the capital. Do you know the Parc des Buttes Chaumont? That one is beautiful – I should try and get back there sometime for some more photos :)

  11. says

    Your pictures are gorgeous! The Japanese style home and gardens were a surprise to see – beautiful but do seem a little out of place. Now for those cookies! WOW! Savory and sweet and peppery! I’m pinning these to make in the fall once I can use my oven again. Great piping job on the cookies!!!

    • says

      Thanks Jenny – the garden is absolutely beautiful! If you’re ever in Paris I really recommend a visit here! It’s just fabulous!

  12. says

    Charles, your photos of Kahn Gardens are simply gorgeous – the lush, green setting really comes through. I’m with you in preferring a more natural setting over disturbed, human manipulated ones ;-).

    Your piped biscuits look so professional (I’ve never used a piping bag in my life if you can believe it). Balsamic and black pepper is a dynamite combination – just picked up some jam featuring this duo at the farmers’ market on the weekend!

    • says

      Thanks so much Kelly – give me wild nature any day to be honest :)

      I really recommend a piping bag – it’s surprisingly easy and I’m only just scratching the service on things I can do with it – churros, filled éclairs, profiteroles, cake decorating… aaaah yeah! 😀

  13. says

    Ooh – lots of surprises in this post! Have never heard of, let alone visited, this park. It looks beautiful so it´s on the list for the next Paris trip! And as for those cookies…apart from looking so pretty…am intrigued as to how they might taste. Only one way to find out :)

    • says

      Hi Chica – I was looking through the rest of my photos from my trip to this garden and it’s a shame because some of the photos were really bad, but there’s so much to see here… maybe I’ll take some more another time and post them :)

  14. says

    Charles, these are beautiful photos, I love that one with the steps. Interesting cookies with pepper and balsamic and you’ve done a fab job with your piping gun they look perfect. Also, how sweet are they? Have a great day!!

    • says

      Hi Suzi – not sweet at all to be honest – when I made them first I made them with 100g Sugar. I baked just two, to make sure they weren’t disgusting disasters (haha) and then realised they weren’t sweet at all so I added more!

  15. says

    Hi, Charles. What a wonderful place! I have never seen it nor heard of it. It makes me long for a trip to Japan… (It’s so funny, but obvious! You are English, so you miss the traditional English gardens, the opposite of the traditional French gardens…)
    The cookies look gorgeous (I love the way you have shaped them with a piping bag). Balsamic vinegar sounds very intriguing…

    • says

      Thanks Sissi – I’d love to go back to Japan myself sometime – but I think if I went again there’s two places I really to go to… either Kyoto or Hokkaido… I’d love to go there in fact… I think it looks so beautiful!

  16. says

    that’s awesome charles! you know i’m not really that big a fan of sweet desserts and biscuits, so these kind of sweet-savoury cookies really hit it with me, esp with such unusual flavours from the black pepper and balsamic vinegar! the gardens look gorgeous, they remind me of asia though, I would hardly think it’s a garden in paris. The weather’s been shit in london, no garden walks that’s for sure!

    • says

      Hi Shuhan – the weather was absolutely crap this morning too… hard, hard rain – running down the road in raging torrents. Driving along, my wipers were pushing buckets of water off the window!

      If you go to Paris again I’d recommend visiting this park – it’s beautiful, especially when the afternoon sun is reflecting off the water under the maple tree… reminds me of when I was in Japan once!

      • says

        I’ve never even gone to Japan before, and I grew up in Asia! hah. Thanks for the tip charles, will do. I am considering going for summer, a short weekend maybe but nothing’s confirmed. If I do, I’ll definitely hit you up!

  17. says

    I have a fig balsamic that I bought once because it tasted good. It might go well in these cookies. They look nice. We used to have a cookie press to make Spritz, but I think we got rid of it because no one was much interested in fooling with it.

    • says

      Hi Sharyn, I think the problem is, they can sometimes be hard to clean. My mother used to have one which was a nightmare to get clean. The one I have seems really easy to clean, and fun to use… plus now I can make tree-shaped Christmas cookies, lol 😀

  18. says

    Dies are the metal plates/discs with the shapes that you force the cookie dough through. They can be Christmas trees, wreaths like the one you made, animal shapes etc. I know them as dies from my childhood.

    I’ll give them a try. It may take a while but I WILL make them. :)

    These are the ones I have on the cheap… I mean INEXPENSIVE set my mom left me. :)

    The long tube on the far right (#8 from the left) is what I use to fill the cream puffs with so they’re nice and neat. I think #1 or #5 from the left would be great for making churros with the choux pastry instead of eclairs. :)

    • says

      Aaah, I had no idea they were called this, I’ve never heard that before. I have some of the same shapes I think. I think for churros, I wonder whether a piping nozzles would work better than a die actually… not sure… will need to test!

      • says

        Damn, those churros look good ^^

        By the way – for your piping thing… how does one make the stuff come out? Is it a plunger thing which you pull back, fill up and then apply pressure on? I was wondering if it was like a “gun”, with a trigger and a little clicky thing.

        • says

          I am dying to make the churros myself. Maybe in a couple weeks when work is done for the summer and I can make sure I have enough oil to do a real deep fry. I’ll have to make sure I have a couple of other things I can deep fry at the same time … maybe some gulab jamun.

          It’s a tube and you unscrew one end to attach the nozzles or dies (err, I mean disks) and the other end you use to fill up with batter (the batter is too thick to suck up) and then screw in the plunger.

    • says

      Thanks BA – I tell you, it’s revolutionised my cookie making 😀 It’s SO fun to use this thing 😀

      I’m not sure how to enter it to AlphaBakes – I’ll go check out your post and read all about it. Thanks for thinking of me :)

  19. says

    Loved the profile on you over at Maureen’s blog Charles. I have to make your Oat Cake recipe — I’ve been searching for a good one for a while now! So nice that you and your wife each take turns cooking for a week — I think that is just lovely!

    • says

      Thanks Barb – it was fun reading about myself like that… made me feel like a movie star, lol 😀

      The oatcakes are thoroughly recommend by both me and my wife. Don’t overdo (or under-do) the salt and you’ll find them fantastic!

  20. says

    Beautiful relaxing park. I could spend hours there. Very interesting cookies and with the balsamic and pepper in the title I just knew they would be good. I love your new piping gun by the way. I don’t have one at the moment but to make these cookies maybe I will have to make a purchase. Take Care, BAM

  21. says

    Gorgeous cookies, Charles! Have thought of getting a cookie gun – again – but probably wouldn’t use this one either. Had one for years that just sat in the drawer taking up valuable real estate! Have long heard of cookies with black pepper (a German cookie, I think) but have never tried them. The addition of balsamic vinegar is definitely a nice touch!

    • says

      Hi Jean – you see, I’m desperately worried that if I got an ice-cream machine it would do the same thing. Be used 20 times in a flurry of excitement when I first got it and then just sit, unused in the back of the cupboard… :( So many things I want…!

  22. says

    Read your wonderful interview over at Maureen’s blog. Your site is beautiful and your pictures are amazing. The park is so beautiful, I miss beautiful parks. I grew up right across from Regents Park in London and have such fond memories of the boating lake and the cherry blossoms and the Rose Garden. I am sure you must enjoy living in Paris though with all that history and food and European beauty. We do have nice parks and landscaping here in Colorado but our main attraction are the beautiful Rocky Mountians. I look forward to visiting your blog regularly and will browse through your old posts. Nice to meet you Charles.

    • says

      Hi C&C – so lovely to meet you. I do feel very lucky living here, although often feel like I don’t appreciate it as much as I should! I’ve LOVE to see the rocky mountains… I’ve always thought how incredibly beautiful they seemed!

      By the way, your username made me curious about making my own crumpets today so I was looking up some crumpet rings, haha 😀

  23. says

    Glad Maureen inteviewed you, love the write-up and getting to know you.
    Wish I knew of this park when I visited Paris some years ago.
    Not sure if I would like this cookie but eating it with fresh strawberries should be good.

  24. says

    Wow! The pics really put me in a zen mood :) Lovely!
    Pepper and balsamic? That’s an unusual combination for me. I do love balsamic vinegar and dunk it with my bread as often as I can but in a cookie? with pepper? Hmm … oh, and I have a cookie gun that I’ve never used. Good time as any to try out both things!

    • says

      Thanks Ping – I’m glad you enjoyed the photos – it’s really a beautiful place… shame about the huge number of visitors each weekend though, lol 😀 Should be a private park just for me!

  25. says

    I love Paris parks. I remember wonderful trips when I was little and my aunt lived In Gournay Sur Marne. Then a small village, now very different I suspect. Those trips to the Tuilleries and the Bois De Boulogne. We didn’t go to the Albert Kahn Gardens which look wonderful. As do those fabulous original cookies. I definitely have to try those and I can imagine they would be fabulous with strawberries. IThis is my first visit to your blog, introduced by the Orgasmic Chef. I’m so pleased she interviewed you, I’ll definitely be back! GG

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by GG – I love Paris parks too… I have another favourite which I will go back to soon as well I think. Take a few photos and so forth :)

  26. says

    What a brilliant combination of flavors.. the wreath looks familiar. I am a proud owner of a cookie press too:0) —isn’t that a neat gadget??

  27. says

    Aah, what an interesting cookie. As I was reading your post, I kept on thinking, this will be lovely to be dipped into strawberry ice-cream 😉 Or chopped strawberries. Thanks for sharing. P.S.: Love the park pictures as well.

    • says

      Thanks Yudith – strawberry ice-cream would make a perfect accompaniment I think… add some chopped strawberries too… no point doing things by halves 😀

  28. says

    I finally made some spritz cookies (I’m slow but I get there eventually). I used vanilla and mint extract and tinted half of the dough green. I found a second cookie press, one with a trigger/click thing which dispenses precise amounts of dough.

    Unfortunately the selection of cookie shapes/patterns is limited. It has the Xmas tree, a 5 petal flower, heart, boy and girl and then a bunch of animals shapes – fish, kangaroo, panda, rabbit. No wreath. :(

    The one I sent you pictures of before has disks which are a too big so they’re not interchangeable which is a shame cause the patterns are cuter, I think.

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