Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shortbread Cookie, "Jerusalem" Style

My friends and are cooking our way through "Jerusalem," a cookbook about the many cuisines of that fabled city. The book has been getting a lot of favorable press. The photographs are gorgeous, and the recipes are bursting with fresh herbs, vegetables, and exotic seasonings (like za'atar and sumac).

Recently I used the book to bake cookies called "Ghraybeh" (which means "swoon" in Arabic--perhaps because you swoon from delight when you eat one?).

Basically, they are a shortbread cookie flavored with orange-blossom water and rose water.

A yummy twist on the classic shortbread cookie!

The dough is rolled into balls and pressed flat with your hand. It's okay if the edges crack:

Press half a pistachio, green side up, into each flattened cookie:

Like all shortbread cookies, they are very tender and crumbly when baked:

The cookies are baked until they *just* begin to get a golden tinge at the edges. On the underside, you can see they are more golden:

For the last batch, I rolled the cookies in sugar. They are sweeter this way, of course, and the sugar adds a pretty, crystalline look to the tops:

I've included the "Jerusalem" recipe, below. But first, two caveats: When I make these cookies again--and I will make them again!--I would increase the flavorings by 25% or so, and I'd roll the balls in granulated sugar before topping them with half a pistachio.

Either way you make them--original or Juli's version--they are definitely swoon-worthy!

Graybeh Cookies from "Jerusalem"
[with annotations in brackets and italics from me]

3/4 C. plus 2 Tbsp. ghee or clarified butter, from the fridge so it is solid [I don't know why this is specified; it was difficult to incorporate the cold butter into the sugar, like trying to mix rocks with sand. I would try this with softened butter, next time.]
scant 2/3 C. confectioner's sugar
3 C. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
scant 4 tsp. orange-blossom water [I would kick this up to 5 tsp.]
2-1/2 tsp. rose water [I would kick this up to 3+ tsp.]
[about 1/4 C. granulated sugar, for rolling the balls of dough]
about 5 Tbsp. unsalted pistachios [I used salted pistachios and prefer that tiny kick of salt. And although the original recipe doesn't say to, I cut the pistachios in half to expose the pretty green interior. In splitting the nuts open, you will wreck some, so have more pistachios than you think you'll need.]

In a stand mixer with the whip attachment, cream together the ghee and confectioner's sugar for 5 minutes, until fluffy, creamy, and pale. Replace the whip with the beater attachment, add the flour, salt, and orange blossom and rose waters, and mix for a good 3 to 4 minutes, until a uniform, smooth dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pinch a piece of dough, a bit smaller than a walnut, and roll it into a ball between your palms. [Roll the ball in the granulated sugar.] Flatten it slightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough, arranging the cookies on lined sheets and spacing them well apart. Press a pistachio [I used a half, green side up] into the center of each cookie.

Bake for 17 minutes [I found that 15 was perfect], making the sure the cookies don't take on any color but just cook through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Makes about 45 cookies.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...