Chag Purim Sameach everyone. This year I added two new cookies and two new hamantashen fillings for my mishloach manot (gifts of food) that I am giving to my neighbors. The hamantashen fillings I made this year are: peach lekvar, cranberry-orange and pecan-fig. The hamantashen dough recipe and other filling recipes is here.
The peach lekvar is the same recipe as the apricot lekvar, but I used dried peaches instead. The filling is deliciously peachy and the mixture of the dried figs and pecans is also a very nice filling for the hamantashen.
2 cups dried figs
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
Place figs and raisins in large bowl with enough apple juice to cover. Refrigerate 3 hours, or overnight. Place fig mixture in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Let cool; drain, reserving syrup. Puree figs and raisins in food processor along with 1/4 cup reserved syrup. Transfer to bowl; mix in pecans. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to use.
I have wanted to try and make Iraqi date cookies ever since I first tried them a couple of years ago after finding them in a local greengrocer near my office . I was so happy when I found Maggie Glezer’s recipe. The recipe looks complicated, but the cookies are actually very easy to make and even easier if you can find ready-made date paste. You should be able to find a package or two at a Middle Eastern store. The ready-made filling is just pure dates without any added sugars or fillers. This filling is also used to make mamoul cookies.
These are a flaky semolina pastry filled with pure date filling. The sweetness of the dates is all that is needed for this delicious cookie. They are perfect for afternoon tea.
Iraqi Date Pastries from Clemence Horesh
Adapted from A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World by Maggie Glezer
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water
2/3 cup semolina (a.k.a. pasta flour)
1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
140g (10 tablespoons or 2/3 cup) melted butter or margarine
2 pkg date filling
1 cup pitted soft Medjool dates
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds to coat
Stir the salt into the water until it dissolves. Mix the semolina and the flour, then stir in the melted butter or oil until it is well distributed and the mixture clumps together. Add the water and mix; the dough will feel very soft at first and then firm up. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two more water to make a smooth, soft dough, or a tablespoon or two more flour to firm it up. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag and let it rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Make the filling if you can't find packaged date filling: In a sauté pan over low heat, heat the dates just until they are warm to the touch, then turn off the heat. Using your hands, knead the dates into the oil in the pan. When the filling is smooth and cohesive, roll the filling up into 16 tablespoon-sized balls with your hands, setting the balls on a plate.
Shape and bake the ba'abe: Arrange the oven racks on the upper- and lower-third positions. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly flour a work surface and have more flour available. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, or oil or butter them. Have ready the date balls, the beaten egg and the sesame seeds.
Roll out the dough into an 18-inch-square. Using a 3- to 4-inch-diameter glass, teacup or cookie cutter, cut out circles of the dough. Put a slightly flattened date ball in the center of each and seal the dough around the ball. Pinching each pastry by the seal, dip the smooth half first in the beaten egg, then in the sesame seeds. On your work surface, with the seeded-side up, flatten each pastry into a 2-inch disk with a rolling pin. Punch a decorative pattern into the pastry with the end of a wooden spoon or a skewer.
Arrange the ba'abe on the baking sheet, leaving room for expansion. Bake for about 20 minutes or until light brown. Cool thoroughly on a rack, then store them in a sealed container.
These oatmeal cookies take me back to when my brother (z”l), of blessed memory, used to come home from school and whip up a batch of these cookies. They filled the house with such a wonderful smell of cinnamon and love. And, it reminds me of how much I miss him.
When I first found oatmeal in the supermarket in Israel, I really had a big chuckle because Israelis, who find it difficult to transliterate foreign words into Hebrew without making funny mistakes, call it Quacker oatmeal.
Mr BT who doesn’t really have a sweet tooth, except for chocolate, really likes these cookies, especially because he can use the pretext that they are healthy.
From the Quaker Oatmeal Can
225g (1 cup (2 sticks)) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats Old Fashioned, uncooked
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Heat oven to 170C (350F).
In large bowl beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats, raisins and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes for a chewy cookie or 11 to 12 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack. Cool completely.