Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts

Jan 14, 2019

Honey and Tahini Cookies

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These delicious egg-free cookies have the nutty flavor of tahini paired with the sweetness of honey. Rolling the dough in sesame seeds gives them a satisfying crunch.

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Delicious homemade tahini! Learn how to make your own tahini here.

I love the taste of tahini so when I saw this egg-free recipe in Epicurious from Mameleh's Deli in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had to try it! For those of you who might wonder “What even is tahini?” Tahini simply is sesame butter. (If you'd like to try making your own tahini my recipe is here.) These cookies couldn’t be simpler to make, and they are extremely, meltingly, delicious. The addition of tahini in this recipe gives the cookies an unexpected, yet pleasant quality, almost like peanut butter cookies, but lighter and crispier. The only thing I changed from the original recipe was adding an extra tablespoonful of honey. The additional honey added a tad more sweetness and a bit more delicate crunch to their shortbread-like texture. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3/4C butter
3/4C sugar
3/4C tahini
1/4C honey
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2C flour
1/2 C toasted sesame seeds (for rolling)

Here's what to do:
1) Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, tahini, honey, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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2) Add flour in 2 batches, beating after each addition until fully combined. The dough will be slightly sticky.

3) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F/180C Place sesame seeds in a small bowl. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment.

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4) Scoop scant tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Dip tops of balls in sesame seeds, pressing to adhere, and place, sesame seed side up, on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

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5) Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until golden brown, mine took 15–20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets (cookies are fragile while warm but will firm as they cool) for at least 5 minutes. Makes about 30 cookies.

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Wondering why Bibi has only been baking cookies recently? It is because of this man:


We have been graced with the presence of the finest Waza of all Kashmir! Mr. Bashir Ahmed Waza has been our houseguest for the past week and has treated us to Wazwan dishes of his creation daily. So I haven't had to cook at all for the last month!
Yippee!
Bibi

Dec 10, 2018

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars)


A German and Swiss holiday staple, this cookie has it all: It's spicy, it's chewy, and it's enticingly covered with sweet frosting. Zimtsterne or cinnamon stars are traditionally made in the shape of a six-pointed star, but if you only have a cutter with five points, that's okay too!


This recipe is adapted from my good friend Cyn's blog, Home Cyn Home. My longtime friend Cyn is a Swiss national living in Mumbai with her Indian husband, adorable daughter Ishita, cute cat Mittens, and dedicated dog Jasmine. Cyn celebrates Christmas by making traditional Swiss treats and lots of fun Christmas crafts. She is also a professional artist and her designs are available on Society6, Redbubble, and Colorpur. Be sure to visit her blog for more easy recipes and craft projects or a hilarious rant on the perils and pitfalls of expat life in India.

Bibi's Kandy-Kolored Raspberry-Flake Streamline Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (My apologies to Tom Wolfe)
So when I first saw this recipe for I thought, "Egg whites and royal icing, hmm, sounds fiddly." But then I picked up this KitchenAid stand mixer while last passing through Delhi and that's what made this recipe a snap! I had my mom's 70's harvest gold and my own late 80's hunter green KitchenAid mixer in California, but did not bring them to Nepal due to voltage issues. (No, this is not an ad for KitchenAid) That whisk beater makes short work of whipping egg whites.! If you don't have a stand mixer a handheld electric mixer will do, but possibly take a few minutes longer. I ground the almonds finely in seconds in my Indian-style mixie.

See that glorious pile of local oranges on the Tarkariwala's cart?
Right now oranges are in season so I used a little orange zest and orange juice to make these cookies halal. Kirsch is the traditional flavoring but I'll bet Gran Marnier would be delicious also. Orange and cinnamon are such a great pairing. Cyn advises putting the royal icing on just after baking rather than before or during as is traditional. I agree as the pure white icing tends to discolor if baked, especially if you have a convection style oven. Be sure not to overbake as the Zimtsternen are meant to be a bit chewy and will taste burnt even if they're just baked to medium brown. Overall, this recipe is a keeper! I love this cookie's festive star shape and snow-like topping.The delightfully chewy, nutty texture and spicy cinnamon flavor are delightfully different. They really are easy to make - especially if you make the dough in advance and then bake and frost them the next day. I love'em! Off to the recipe:

Ingredients:
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
1 C powdered sugar
2 TBS cinnamon powder
1 TBS of orange juice (or Kirsch)
1 tsp orange zest (optional)
4 &1/2 C or 500g ground almonds (with skin)
extra ground almonds as needed
extra powdered sugar for rolling out dough
gold glitter sprinkles for decorating (optional)
Royal Icing:
1 egg white
1 C powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp orange juice

Here's what to do:
1) In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites and salt until they form stiff peaks. (I use the whisk beater for this step.)


2) Add the powdered sugar to the beaten egg whites and fold until you have a smooth paste. (I switch to the regular beater from the whisk for this step.)


3) Mix in the ground almonds, cinnamon, orange juice (or kirsch) and orange zest and combine as evenly as possible. At this point, you will have a sticky dough. Add some extra ground almonds gradually until the dough sticks to itself but remains soft yet pliable.


4) Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours to allow the cinnamon flavor to develop and the almonds to soak up the moisture. This dough can also be frozen for several weeks before use.


5) When ready to bake make a small batch of royal icing* (directions below) and preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place a large piece of waxed paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Place the chilled dough on the waxed paper and powdered sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar and press or roll out to 1/3-inch thick.


6) Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into 2-inch star shapes. Reroll and cut any scraps. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for about 10-15  minutes (they should just start to turn brown on the edges). Do not overbake!


7) Spread the royal icing* on the cookies as soon as you take them out of the oven. Ideally, the cookies should still be a bit hot. Sprinkle with gold colored sugar before icing sets if desired. Allow the cookies to cool on a rack. When completely cooled store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Zimtsternen taste best if allowed to stand for 24 hours.

*Royal Icing:
1) Place egg white, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoonful of orange juice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or beaters. Beat until frothy.

2) Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat until the mixture is stiff and shiny, usually about 3 to 5 minutes. This icing hardens quickly, so be sure to cover it with plastic wrap until you're ready to use it. Gently press the plastic wrap into the surface of the icing to prevent a crust from forming.

Helpful Hints:


Grind almonds quickly and easily in your Indian-style mixie. I did mine in two 250g batches and it took only seconds!

Feb 12, 2018

Chinese Almond Cookies

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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Chinese Almond cookies! These delightfully crisp treats have a melt-in-your-mouth texture with the sweet, creamy flavor of almonds. A true dupe for the delicious after meal cookies you're often be served at Cantonese restaurants.

Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco's Chinatown
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (春節) is this Friday, February 16th! Around the Lunar New Year, everything is about wishing prosperity, good fortune, good luck and long life to your loved ones and those near you. One should avoid crying children, cleaning clothes, sweeping floors, and using scissors on this auspicious day. I thought it'd be great to bake some cookies in honor of this festival so I asked a Chinese college chum of mine for her favorite New Year's recipes. One of the recipes my friend recommended was this recipe from Taste of Home.



I thought it a bit odd that an authentic tasting Chinese cookie would be found in a publication specializing in Midwestern cuisine and based in Greendale, Wisconsin. But my friend Eileen said it was "spot on" if you doubled the almond flavoring and added 15 drops of yellow food coloring. And she was correct! These almond cookies taste just like the ones in Chinese bakeries and Cantonese restaurants. The recipe is quite simple and the dough is very easy to work with. I did not have yellow food coloring so I did not use it. I used 2 teaspoons of LorAnn's Almond Baking Emulsion instead of 1 teaspoon almond extract. (If you are looking for an excellent quality halal/alcohol-free almond flavoring that doesn't fade when baking or go bitter - I highly recommend LorAnn's Almond Baking Emulsion.) Instead of topping the cookies with sliced almonds I pressed one whole almond into each cookie. If you wanted to be really posh you could use whole blanched almonds. The egg wash gives the tops of the cookies a beautiful crackled and glazed look while helping the almonds to adhere. If you wanted a crispier cookie I'd suggest using vegetable shortening rather than butter. All in all, this was a great recipe- came together simply, rolled easily, baked beautifully (even with the occasional power outage and an erratically heating toaster oven), and tastes wonderful! Off to the recipe: 

Ingredients:
1 C butter or vegetable shortening, softened to room temperature
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
 1 to 2 tsp almond flavoring
3 C flour
40 almonds
For egg wash:
1 egg white
1/2 tsp water

Here's what to do:
1) In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Beat in egg and almond extract. 
 
2) Gradually add flour to creamed mixture. Chill dough for at least an hour or overnight. 
 
 
3) When ready to bake preheat oven to 325F/180C.  Roll into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheets. Flatten to a generous 1/4 inch with the bottom of a glass covered in cling film. 
 
 
4) In a small bowl, beat egg white and water. Brush egg wash over over cookies. Place an almond on top of each cookie and press down to flatten slightly. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: about 3 dozen. 
 
 
 
Hope you try this recipe and love it as much as my family does!
Until then: 
迎春接福  
Yíngchúnjiēfú  
"Greet the New Year and encounter happiness" 

Calmly Currying on,
Bibi

Dec 24, 2017

Vegan Peppernuts (Päpanät)

Peppernuts (also called Pfeffernüsse or päpanät) are a tiny cookie baked in Mennonite homes during the Christmas season. This recipe for peppernuts is egg-free and vegan. They're deliciously crunchy, delightfully spicy, and highly addictive little cookies that are perfect for gift giving during the holidays!

My mother is from the Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites who left the steppes of Russia in 1874. They chose the Kansas prairie for their new home and the modest home my great-grandfather Jacob Krause built in 1874 is part of the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum near Goessel, Kansas. Peppernuts are found in various forms across Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In Plautdietsch they are called päpanät (pronounced pay-pa-nate). The name peppernut does not mean it contains nuts, though some varieties do. The crunchy cookies are roughly the size of nuts and can be eaten by the handful, which may account for the name.

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Traditional Mennonite recipes for peppernuts usually contain beaten egg. Eggs are not considered suitable for vegetarians in South Asia so through a little trial and error I came up with this egg-free adaptation of my aunt's original recipe. My vegan version of her recipe is just as flavorful, crunchy, long-lasting, delicious and sturdy as the Mennonite original. Mine may be a tad spicier in keeping with the South Asian influences though. Although these little cookies are not the prettiest of holiday treats- they are truly addictive. It's really hard to stop eating them, once you start. You are warned! Nary a Christmas goes by that I don't bake a huge batch of these for friends, neighbors, and even the Imam!


Every Mennonite family has a slightly different recipe for peppernuts. The variations are multitude. Some use butter or vegetable shortening. Some use corn syrup, molasses, or golden syrup. Some use brown sugar and some use white sugar. Spice mixtures may or may not include black pepper, white pepper, or even no pepper at all! One thing that is constant in Mennonite recipes is star anise- not ground anise, not anise oil, not anise extract - it has to be STAR ANISE. I have to say that star anise does have a tad extra sweetness as well as a slightly root beer-ish note in addition to the licorice flavor of plain anise. I also like the warmth of black pepper and the citrusy zing of green cardamom in my peppernuts. Any way you spice them, I really hope you give this unique little cookie a try! No doubt they'll become a favorite made year after year in your home too!

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C vegetable shortening or margarine*
1&1/2 C sugar
3/4 C golden syrup or corn syrup**
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground star anise
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
5 C flour
extra flour to roll out dough

Here's what to do:
1) Melt shortening or margarine in a large saucepan. Add sugar, syrup, and salt to melted oil and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and allow mixture cool to room temperature.

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 2) Combine ground spices, baking powder, and flour in large mixing bowl. Stir until well mixed. I use my stand mixer to do this.

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3) Add cooled syrup mixture to the flour and spices. Stir until well blended. The dough should be a little sticky yet stiff. Cover dough with cling film and refrigerate overnight or for several days.

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4) When ready to bake preheat oven to 350F/180C. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking matts. Sprinkle a little flour or your counter and roll dough into long ropes about as thick as your ring finger. It's usually best to take about a half cup of dough at a time. This dough is really easy to work with despite being a little sticky. I put the ropes of dough onto a baking tray while I'm rolling them.

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5)  Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch pieces and place on prepared pans at least an inch apart. Cookies will puff up and spread a little bit. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in preheated 350F/180C oven or until cookies just begin to brown.

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6) Remove from pan and allow to cool. Cookies will be soft when warm but will gradually crisp up when completely cooled.

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7) Makes about 4 liters or 16 cups of little cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Yes, I said 3 months - these are typically sturdy Mennonite cookies!)

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Helpful Hints:
*I have made this recipe with vegetable shortening, margarine, and butter (and various combinations of whatever I could find here in Nepal). All work fine in this recipe but I prefer the extra crunchiness you get with vegetable shortening (Crisco to be precise).

**I have made this recipe variously with dark corn syrup, light corn syrup, golden syrup, honey, and molasses. Light corn syrup would be what Mennonites from Kansas would use but our Canadian brethren prefer golden syrup. I have to agree with the Canucks on their preference for golden syrup in this recipe. I like the slight caramel flavor that golden syrup gives this recipe best.

This recipe is time-consuming but the results are well worth it. Traditionally this cookie is often made in huge batches as a community at the local church to reduce the tedium. (My aunt's original recipe called for a whopping 15 cups of flour!) I usually make the dough one day and freeze it. Then I roll out the ropes of dough and place them on a tray in the freezer until the next day. Then on the last day, I fire up my tiny toaster oven, chop the ropes of dough into half inch pieces, and bake them. (This takes all day with our random power outages.) A more efficient plan would be to get a few pals together and delegate the tasks of rolling, chopping, and baking.

Happy Holidays!
Wishing you all the best in this festive season - Peace, Love, Hope & Joy!
Bibi

Dec 18, 2017

2017 Holiday Recipe Roundup!

Treat your family and friends to something sweet this holiday season. I've got vegan, gluten-free and no-bake recipes, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to cherry and coconut to cardamom. Whether you're looking for something new or you just want to add options to your holiday party repertoire, check out some of my most popular recipes from the last few years. Enjoy!

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Kashmiri Cardamom Cookies-Buttery and tender, this simple to prepare eggless cookie features Kashmiri walnuts and the warm flavor of cardamom. Can easily be made vegan too. A perfect cookie to make for any holiday

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Bollywood Banana Bread- An American classic done Desi! Good old banana bread gets a Bollywood makeover. This recipe makes a tasty, dense, moist loaf that tastes even better the next day! It freezes well, can be made eggless or "veg," and makes a great holiday gift.

There are vegan, gluten-free and no-bake options, as well as flavors that range from chocolate to citrus and basil to bourbon.

Chinese Chews- These old fashioned chewy date cookies are baked in a pan, cut like bars, and then rolled in granulated sugar to give them a unique knobby shape. A nostalgic recipe that's easy to make and perfect for holiday platters, snacks, or packed lunches.

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Cherry Cardamom Snowballs- A touch of warm cardamom spices up chewy cherries in this tender and buttery cookie. So easy to make and so pretty too!

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Mexican Chocolate Snowballs- A spicy twist on an old favorite with almonds, chocolate, cinnamon, and a pinch of chili powder. Buttery, delicately spiced, and rich with chocolate flavor this egg free recipe can easily be made vegan too. A simple to make treat to serve any holiday!

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Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos- Easy, eggless, gluten-free and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.

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Pistachio, Rose, and Cardamom Snowballs- A classic American Christmas cookie gets a flavor makeover with rich pistachios, delicate rose, and spicy cardamom! Buttery, tender, and eggless these snowball cookies are always a hit no matter what the occasion. These beautiful treats can easily be made vegan and would be a delicious addition to any holiday platter.

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Classic American Oatmeal Cookies- Buttery, sweet, with a hint of spice and a texture that's a delectable combination of crispy edges with delightfully chewy centers. Embellish them with raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, dried cherries, or chopped dates as you choose. This tasty recipe can easily be made vegan too. Great as a snack or gracing any holiday platter!

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Hawaiian Coconut Cookies- From the beautiful island state of Hawaii comes this eggless sweet treat. Tenderly crisp, buttery, and rich with the flavor of coconut these cookies are sure to please anyone's palate. Such an easy recipe to make and perfect for any holiday platter.

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Red Velvet Snowball- Get festive with this recipe for buttery, chocolatey, and meltingly tender Red Velvet Snowball Cookies! An easy to make, eggless, and nut free treat that be made vegan too. The perfect addition to any holiday platter!

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Persimmon Cookies- Spicy, moist, and tenderly soft these persimmon cookies are truly a Winter treat! Lavishly laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, raisins, and walnuts this recipe is full of the flavors of the season. So simple to make and the easiest answer to the question, "What do you do with persimmons?"

Happy baking and sharing!
Bibi
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