Persian Festive Cookies

Persian Rose Water Rice Flour Cookies (Naan e Berenji): Gluten Free

Persian Festive Cookies

Persian Festive Cookies

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. Refugee Week 2014 took place between 16-22 June and I decided to try a new recipe to join in the festivities!

Persian Rose Water Rice Cookies (Naan e Berenji) are made to celebrate Persian New Year, are wheat free and have a light crumbly short texture. I’ve come across different recipes that use both cardamom and rose water for flavouring or just rosewater. I used an amalgamation of various recipes.

Ingredients:
  • 500g Rice flour                             
  • 200g Icing sugar                                 
  • 250g Butter                                          
  • 1 Egg yolk                                       
  • 1 tsp Rose water                                 
  • Poppy seeds (for decorating, I used crushed pistachio nuts)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
  • Beat butter, icing sugar and egg yolk into a smooth paste (I used an electric hand mixer for a few minutes)
  • Blend in the rice flour and rose water
  • Roll dough into walnut sized balls and squash flat (or use a cookie cutter if preferred)
  • Sprinkle poppy seeds or pistachios on top of each cookie and press in lightly so they don’t fall off
  • Bake on baking paper for 15 to 20 minutes, leave to cool completely on the tray otherwise the bottoms will come away. (I speak from experience!)
Iranian Rose water Rice Cookies

Iranian Rose water Rice Cookies

These cookies are very crumbly and do not spread much when baking, so they can be placed close together on the baking tray but should be handled only after they have cooled completely.

They are very moreish with a very subtle flavour. Adding cardamom would definitely enhance this little biscuit too. The top of the cookies have a cracked look, which I’ve been assured is quite usual! Due to the high fat content, they keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Maple Syrup and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Maple Syrup And Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Maple Syrup  and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Maple Syrup and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Believe it or not these cookies started as ‘oatmeal biscuits’! I’ve not been very organised in the kitchen recently, starting to bake or cook a recipe and then realising half way through that I don’t have all the ingredients I need!

So this it how the story begins… I got the idea in my head that I wanted to make some wholesome biscuits, no doubt because of all the lovely ones that Dimple over at Shivaay Delights has been posting recently! You’re such a bad influence young lady! 😉

So upon realising I had no golden syrup required for the recipe, I found some maple syrup and agave syrup so bunged that into the mixing bowl instead. So that’s a fairly non-recipe destroying  substitute right? Oh, but there is more… I then went to grab the bag of oats and found there was none! How unprepared can a cook be?!

Being unwilling to go out to the shops to buy the oats (it was rainy and miserable outside) I decided to press on ahead and make the biscuits using only self raising flour, but throwing in some mixed seeds and pumpkin seeds that I found in the baking cupboard.

Maple Syrup  and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

Maple Syrup and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

After 15 minutes in a hot oven, I ended up with Maple Syrup and Pumpkin Seed Cookies! Ta Da! Like magic I have created a new recipe by accident and they tasted pretty good too… I’ve called them cookies as they were chewy inside but crisp on the outside. The different syrups helped to create a lovely rich caramel flavour and the seeds added a nutty taste and extra bite to each mouthful.

I won’t post the recipe since I was making it up as I went along, so don’t actually know quantities of the ingredients I used!

So the lesson learned is no matter what is going wrong with your cooking or baking, there is always a way to rescue the recipe! No need to give up and waste all the ingredients (and hard work!) half way through as a good cook can improvise! 🙂

Happy experimenting folks!

Christmas shortbread: Pistachio with Cardamom and Stem Ginger

 

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

My family and I don’t really celebrate Christmas to the extent that most families do in the UK. We get together with extended family for a couple of days over Christmas Day and Boxing Day to eat lots of lovely food, usually having a fairly traditional roast Christmas dinner. Unsurprisingly the best part of Christmas for me is the giving and receiving of food. For the past few years I’ve been making little Christmas food gifts for friends and family rather than just relying on shop bought festive treats. Partly because it helps to reduce the cost of Christmas shopping, but also because I think putting a little effort into making a gift for someone is always appreciated! And since I’m not blessed with any artist crafty ability or patience to learn a new skill, then I fall back onto the art of baking…

This year I’ve started off with some tried and tested shortbread recipes. This weekend I made some Stem Ginger Shortbread for a friend of mine who is actually celebrating her birthday, so technically this was ‘Birthday Shortbread’. She’s also expecting her second baby, so I figured that ginger is great for any pregnant woman with it’s anti nausea properties (beside being really delicious!).

The second lot of shortbread was flavoured with cardamom and toasted pistachio nuts, a classic combination! These were taken to some friends of mine who I have just started working with as a trustee of the Bumba Foundation. This charity raises money to build schools in Uganda for children who are otherwise unable to get an education. It’s an honour to be part of this work and I look forward to getting stuck into the fundraising events in 2014! Please check out the website for more information about the Bumba Foundation. Today was my first trustees meeting, so I took a these shortbread cookies to make a good first impression.

 

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

The shortbread recipe I used was based on this BBC recipe that I have successfully used in the past but after researching a few other recipes I decided to substitute some of the wheat flour with a couple tablespoons of cornflour to ensure extra crispness, I think it worked! Using this basic recipe as the base, I added the additional flavourings by adding some of the stem ginger syrup to the dough and pressing chopped up stem ginger to the tops of the cookies. For the second batch the ground seeds of about 8 cardamom pods were kneaded into the dough and crushed pistachios pressed into the top.

 

Christmas Gift Box

Christmas Gift Box

I wrapped the shortbread in some gift bags and sealed to keep them fresher for longer then put them in these little Wilton Christmas gift boxes that I found when Christmas shopping. Very cute don’t you think?!

More posts on my Christmas food goodies to come…

Previous baking adventures: cakes, tarts, cookies and muffins etc.

Cookie monster cupcakes

Cookie monster cupcakes

Compared to some experienced bloggers, I am still fairly new to the food blogging world. However my love of baking and taking photos of the results started long ago! I usually take pictures of my cakes and bakes with my camera phone then post pictures on Facebook (hence the poor quality of my photos!). I was looking through all these photos and found things I had long forgotten I’d baked!

I’ve decided to collate the ones I could find pictures of, some have turned out well and some not so well but it shows a range of what I like to bake.

I went through a phase of making cupcakes for a while, so they feature heavily and my attempts at macarons have been a little questionable. Some bakers like to use the same recipes over and over again, perfecting it to their tastes. I’m not one of these bakers! I like to go by cooking books and flick through the lovely pictures then I get my recipes on line where people have commented on how to improve recipes.

These bakes have been for a variety of events spanning around 5 years! Usually for birthdays, as gifts, for charity fundraisers or afternoon tea parties. Each picture brings back memories of the occasion it was baked for and I can even remember what they tasted like!

Maybe one day I will find the time to collate all these recipes into my own personal cook book so that I can go back to them when needed, as often I can’t find the recipes again!

Fig and frangipane tart

Fig and frangipane tarts: using up left over figs

Almond Slices

Almond Slices: dessert for family meal

Raspberry macarons

Raspberry macarons: These won me first prize in a charity’bake off’!

Ice cream cone cupcakes

Ice cream cone cupcakes: office party

Chocolate macarons with passionfruit cream

Chocolate macarons with passion fruit cream: made for a friend’s Christmas gift

Elderflower meringue santa hats

Elderflower meringue Santa hats: part of a ‘secret Santa’ gift for a colleague

Ghostly meringue cupcakes

Ghostly meringue cupcakes: Halloween themed office party

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes: gift when visiting a friend

Baileys chocoloate cupcakes and scones

Baileys chocoloate cupcakes and scones: part of an afternoon tea party I hosted

Eton Mess

Eton Mess: these gorgeous espresso cups were a gift for my 30th Birthday

Cardamom and hazelnut cookies

Cardamom and hazelnut cookies: afternoon tea party

Macarons with chocolate ganache and mini cupcakes with fresh raspberry

Macarons with chocolate ganache and mini cupcakes with fresh raspberry: another afternoon tea party!

Ugandan coffee and ground nut cupcakes

Ugandan coffee and ground nut cupcakes: raising funds for a friend’s charity building schools in Uganda

Cookie monster cupcakes: My nephew’s 1st Birthday party
Mini cupcakes: Coconut, Hazlenut, Blueberry

Mini cupcakes: Coconut, Hazelnut, Blueberry: experimenting for as part of a Wedding afternoon tea buffet

Melting moments: shortbread with butter cream and jam filling

Melting moments: shortbread with butter cream and jam filling: trying out two toned piping on cookies for a staff meeting

Shortbread cookies filled with jam and butter cream

Shortbread cookies filled with jam and butter cream: treats for the family

Chocolate Roulade

Chocolate Roulade: Dessert for a family meal

Nutella cupcakes with raspberry

Nutella cupcakes with raspberry: treats for colleagues

Hazelnut cupcakes with nutella frosting

Hazelnut cupcakes with nutella frosting: treats for family

Carrot and Walnut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Lemon cupcake

Carrot and Walnut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and Lemon cupcake: Charity bake sale

Spinach and Cheese muffins

Spinach and Cheese muffins: Friend’s afternoon tea party

American style buttermilk and mixed berries muffins

American style buttermilk and mixed berries muffins: experimenting with buttermilk

Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Chewy chocolate chip cookies: Trying to make ‘Millies style’ cookies