Southwestern Recipes

Prickly Pear Cookies

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  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup prickly pear juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped prickly pear fruit
  • 1/4 cup chopped and drained maraschino cherries


Read Notes before beginning recipe.

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Blend in sour cream, egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix dry ingredients and blend into sour cream mix.
  4. Add cactus juice, pears and cherries.
  5. Drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes. Watch carefully if baking at a higher elevation.


To gather the cactus pears: Push ripe pears from cactus with a stick. Pick up with a pair of kitchen tongs. Place in paper grocery sack. If you can't use immediately, don't wash. Just store in the refrigerator in the sack.

To wash: Pour into sink and cover with water. Swish around with tongs and transfer to another sink of water. Do this three or four times. The pears are not really dirty, just dusty. You will only need four of five pears for cookies.

To prepare pears: Use rubber gloves you can discard after you are finished. Scrub fruit with a vegetable brush. Place in heavy kettle. Cover with water and boil about 15 minutes. Transfer cactus pears to bowl to cool. They are easier to work with if they are a little warm.

Cut down one side — not too deep because there is a large seed sack, and it is best not to split it or you will have seeds all over the place. Discard seeds. Peel skin from fruit. Chop with an electric nut chopper. That way you will have the needed fruit and juice all in one procedure.

Source: University of Arizona

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