Holstein Cookies

With the end of Farmer’s Market season, we thought we would share the recipe for one of the cookies that we brought with us to the markets along with the beef and pork you can love.

The story of these triple chocolate cookies started on August 28, 2011 (Sarah made a note in the cookbook!). She wanted to make “My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies” from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather (we highly recommend the entire cookbook, by the way) and started mixing the dough…before checking to see if we had chocolate chips in the pantry. We did not.

John suggested adding cocoa powder to make chocolate cookies without the chips. They tasted pretty good, so Sarah made the note “Maybe try with cocoa powder and the chocolate chips both.” And try we did. The next note is from November of that year and shows we tried both dark and white chocolate chips, along with specific notes on baking time. A few more adjustments were made to the amount of cocoa powder and we had our recipe dialed in.

But it wasn’t until Sarah took a batch for her co-workers to enjoy at World Dairy Expo that we had a name for these glorious cookies. We have worked with and loved cows of many breeds, but differences and generalizations can certainly be made. When Sarah described the cookies as “black, white, and nuts all over,” calling them Holstein cookies was a natural fit.

We no longer include nuts most of the time, due to our kids’ preferences and wanting to be aware of nut allergies when selling at the farmers market, but we’ve included them in the recipe below if you would like to add them. Another delicious variation is to use 15 ounces of Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips instead of chocolate chips; Sarah makes these around Christmas and tops them with green sprinkles.

Whichever variation and no matter the occasion, we hope Holstein cookies become a staple for your family as well!



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. If using nuts, arrange the walnuts and pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown and aromatic, usually 7 to 9 minutes. Take care not to let them burn. After removing from the oven, let them cool and then coarsely chop if not already in pieces.
  2. Prepare baking sheets, either by lining with parchment paper or silicone mats, or greasing with butter or cooking spray.
  3. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl using a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about one minute. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for another minute.
  4. Add the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until incorporated.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips (and nuts, if using) using a mixing spoon. The dough will be stiff.
  6. Roll dough into balls the size of a ping pong ball, or use a 1 3/4″ diameter ice cream scoop and drop balls onto the prepared baking sheets at least 1 1/2″ apart; they will spread. While delicious, these cookies aren’t the prettiest, so top with extra white chocolate chips or sprinkles if desired.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (11 minutes is perfect for our oven). Cookie edges should be set with the center still looking doughy. Remove the sheet from the oven and leave the cookies on the warm sheet for at least 5 minutes, letting the centers firm.
  8. Move cookies to cooling racks to finish cooling, then enjoy! This recipe makes around 40 cookies; finished cookies or cookie dough balls both also freeze well.

John and Sarah Gilbert farm with their family in North Central Iowa. They care for pigs, cows, and the land to bring you beef and pork you can love. They have a passion for cooking and helping others develop the skills they need to put healthy and delicious home-cooked meals on the table. They can be contacted by email and through Facebook and Instagram.