Friday, October 26, 2007

Linzer Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) of cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 tbs grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

preserves of your liking
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a cup or a measuring container add all wet ingredients and stir.
Place all dry ingredients into a food processor, or to a bowl and combine well, either by whip or processing for a few seconds.
Add the cold cut butter on top of the flour mixture and incorporate either by pulsing for a few seconds until crumbly or with a fork or pastry cutter.
Now add the egg mixture and pulse or stir until well combined. Turn out onto the counter and form into two uniform balls.

It will be quite a crumbly mess, but don't add any liquid, just form them, the heat of your hands will make it form well after a few seconds.
Place one ball on the top a piece of wax paper, place a second piece on top, indent the dough a couple of times with your rolling pin. It will help with rolling it out.

Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out tops and bottoms with your cookie cutters.
Make sure you do equal numbers of tops and bottoms. Don't throw away the scraps, re roll them to make as many cookies as possible. Place on the baking sheets about 1/4 of an inch apart, they won't spread out so don't worry. Cook until golden brown, 12-15 minutes and let cool completely before assembly of your cookies.

I used three kinds of fillings, I like a variety. Strawberry Jam, Apricot Jam and Nutella. Turn the bottom over to the side it cooked on and spread a bit of jam or other sweet on then add the top and dust with powdered sugar!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sour Cream & Pecan Dreams

Who doesn't love Maida?

  • 2 cups sifted flour (I'm too lazy/busy for sifting but I hear it's better when you do it ;-)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I used 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed of course
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 generous cup of finely chopped pecans not powdery just chopped

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets.

Cream butter then add sugar and vanilla and beat well. Add egg and beat well. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until soft.

Break off small pieces, smaller than average American cookies and roll into a ball with your hands.

Using your index finger press a small hole in the center to make a well but be sure to leave an edge.

Make the filling.
Place sugar, sour cream and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well, until smooth then add nuts and stir well again. Take a small spoon and add the filling to the cookies.
Make sure that the filling is mounded fairly high above the rims of the cookies.

Bake 13-15 minutes and leave to cool on rack.


M'Hajeb or M' Hadjeb

  • 500 grams fine Semolina plus more if you add too much water, which I usually do :-)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Tomato Paste
  • Hot Paprika
  • Salt
First make the dough. This dough takes forever to make! It's worth it, ;-)

Measure out the semolina add a pinch of salt and start adding water little by little until you have reached a nice soft dough, that resembles bread dough but stretchy. This takes about thirty minutes or more by hand. Coat lightly with oil and let it rest.

As your dough is resting start making the filling. Slice the onions thinly and grate the tomatoes after cleaning them of seeds and excess juice.

Cook over medium high heat and cook the onions until pretty much all the water is gone. Next add tomato paste and seasoning stirring well to make sure everything is well distributed. Cook a few more minutes to make sure everything is soft moist but not wet and then set aside to cool.

When the filling is room temperature you can start making the M'hajeb's.

Break off a golf ball size piece of dough and spread it on onto the counter slowly and carefully making sure to use enough oil on the work surface as well as the dough itself. This is a pretty oily mess so I didn't take any pictures, maybe next time I will ask my brother or older boy to do it.

Fry them in a bit of oil in a non stick pan or a caste iron pan.

This takes a bit of practice and a lot of time, but they are really good so you aren't loosing any time by making them!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cream Scones

4 cups all purpose flour
4 ts baking powder
dash of salt (optional, I didn't add any)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup currants or other dried fruit (chocolate if you fancy)
1 cup cold heavy cream + more if dry
1 large egg plus 1 ts of water, cream or milk for wash
3 tbs coarse sugar and or chopped finely or slivered crystallized ginger (both are optional)

Add (or sift if you really good!) flour, baking powder and salt then whisk together.
Measure brown sugar and dried fruit and whisk or stir utill evenly dispersed.
Pour in the cream and stir softly until you get a soft dough. I use my hands, but you can use a wooden spoon if you prefer not to get your hands sticky, which is my favorite part of making scones. Don't over mix or the scone will be dry. Turn out onto the counter and shape into one large disk or two smaller ones to make smaller scones.

Cut into wedges (I have never tried another shape) and place onto your baking sheet which should be lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Whisk until frothy the egg and your desired liquid, of course milk will make for a reddish bread, cream will make it darker and I used water today, so you can see it's a bit shiny and lightly colored.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping, you can mix and match ginger and sugar, use only one or use nothing at all. They will taste great anyway really. Bake at 425 for ten minutes, turn the pan around, turn the heat down to 375 and cook for another ten minutes. They should be brown in color and firm to touch. Cool for ten to twenty minutes and serve warm with coffee or milk for breakfast or an afternoon snack with afternoon coffee or tea. :-)

Thank you Peter Reinhart!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

EID MUBARAK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Insha'Allah everyone has a blessd Eid!!

As the sun rises on the first day of Shawwal, Muslims celebrate the coming of `Eid Al-Fitr, which some call "the day of the prize and compassion."

`Eid Al-Fitr is named after breaking the fast, being the first day after Muslims finish their month-long fast of Ramadan. Muslims spend the three days of this feast in continuous joy, delight, and most importantly communicating with one another.

Shortly after sunrise on the morning of the first day in Shawwal, Muslims in all parts of the world wake up to perform the congregational `Eid Prayer, gathering the rich and poor, the young and old, in a state of unity and harmony.

In Muslim countries, it is customary in `Eid to eat dates or kahk (Arabic for "cookies") and then visit families, relatives, and friends. During these visits, people exchange greetings that differ from one country to another.

How Muslims celebrate `Eid varies from one community to the other, and this has proved to be a source of cultural richness and diversity. `Eid is an essential part of the Islamic identity and culture that dictates all the practices of celebrations — the dresses you wear, the songs you sing and listen to, and what you say to one another.

Wherever you are — North or South, East or West, tell us about how you prepare for this occasion.

How do you greet your families and friends? What do you say or do?
How do you celebrate? Do you go outdoors? Where do you go? Or do you prefer staying at home? What do you do indoors?
What kind of food do you eat?
What songs or nashids do you listen to?