Serious Eats: Recipes

Cakespy: Moldy Mice Cookies

[Original artwork and photographs: Jessie Oleson]

Mexican wedding cakes, snowballs, kourambiedes, Armenian sugar cookies, Viennese crescents, sand tarts, Russian teacakes—as varied as this international sampler of cookies may sound, they really do amount to basically the same thing: a buttery, usually nutty, melt-in-your mouth treat, liberally coated with confectioners' sugar.

But my favorite variation? Moldy Mice Cookies, a buttery pecan cookie smothered in confectioners' sugar, which to the best of my knowledge first cropped up under this name in a 1950 Junior League cookbook entitled Charleston Receipts.

So what's with the name?

I have two theories: first, if you squint really hard at the cookies, they sort of resemble tiny mice covered with mold. Second (my favored theory), it's a clever deterrent technique employed by bakers who want to hoard the cookies for themselves. I wouldn't blame them: these rich, tender cookies are simply delectable.

Moldy Mice Cookies

About the author: Jessie Oleson is a Seattle-based writer, illustrator, and cake anthropologist who runs Cakespy, an award-winning dessert website.

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