Baking cookies is a delightful way to celebrate Tu Bishvat. Naturally, I want my
cookies to have plenty of the holiday’s signature foods – nuts and dried
A cookie I ate recently at a party had all the qualities I look
for in a Tu Bishvat treat. It was full of goodies – dried apricots, toasted
pecans and coconut.
Chef Ida Rodriguez of Melissa’s World Variety
Produce, who developed the recipe, told me the cookies had no batter.
mixed the components with only sweetened condensed milk and baked the
For Tu Bishvat, I choose cookies that need no rolling pin
because cookie dough with generous amounts of fruit and nuts is easier to handle
with other shaping techniques. I prefer cookies that are formed by rolling dough
into balls, and drop cookies that are shaped by pushing dough from a spoon onto
a baking sheet.
Bakers in Italy make use of these shaping methods in a
variety of nutty cookies.
Nick Malgieri, author of A Baker's Tour,
classic brutti ma buoni (“ugly but good”) hazelnut cookies using the drop cookie
method. To make them, he folds ground hazelnuts into egg whites whipped with
sugar. The batter is heated in a saucepan, shaped into cookies with two spoons
Victoria Granof, author of Sweet Sicily
, makes flourless
almond paste and raisin cookies with grated orange zest, shaped in ovals and
decorated with candied orange peel.
Another Sicilian sweet that’s good
for Tu Bishvat is Granof’s chewy pistachio cookies.
They are made by
grinding pistachios with almonds and sugar and mixing in eggs, honey, vanilla
and orange zest, but no flour or butter. To shape these cookies, you roll the
dough between your palms into logs, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and bake
It’s easy to find rich, nutty treats in the Austro-Hungarian baking
Aliza Green, author of Starting with Ingredients: Baking
makes hazelnut cinnamon cookies with red-currant jam.
She rolls small
balls of buttery cinnamon- scented cookie dough in ground hazelnuts, then makes
an indentation in each one. After baking, she fills the center with tart
Many American cookies can make tasty Tu Bishvat treats.
Most chocolate chip cookie recipes already include nuts.
You can add
raisins or other dried fruit instead of the chocolate chips or include some of
each. To make milk chocolate chip and pistachio cookies, Green blends melted
milk chocolate into the dough and then stirs in coarsely chopped pistachios, as
well as chopped milk chocolate.
American oatmeal cookies, which are often
studded with nuts and raisins, are perfect for the holiday. Lisa Yockelson,
author of Baking Style,
calls her variation Lady Bountiful Cookies. They are
actually a combination of an oatmeal and a chocolate-chip cookie with plenty of
nuts and fruit added.
Yockelson explains how easy it is to vary the
recipe for this drop cookie: “You cannot possibly wreck the dough with a bold
exchange of ingredients... My standards are bittersweet or semisweet
chocolate chips, chopped toffee, sweetened flaked coconut, raisins, dried
cherries, and walnuts. Cashews, macadamia nuts or pecans can replace the
walnuts; dried cranberries are easily swapped for the dried cherries; and a
combination of white chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips can sub for
the all-bittersweet or all-semisweet variety. In all, a terrific and terrifically flexible recipe.”COCONUT CHOCOLATE-CHIP
COOKIES WITH WALNUTS AND RAISINS
Makes about 40 cookies These moist, soft
chocolate-chip cookies are enriched with sour cream and accented with a touch of
lemon zest. If you like, substitute chopped dates or dried cranberries for the
raisins. You can keep the cookies up to 1 week in an airtight container at room
temperature or you can freeze them.
They lose their softness after three
days but still taste good.
✔ 11⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
✔ 11⁄4 tsp.
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. salt
✔ 110 gr. (1⁄2 cup)
unsalted butter, room temperature
✔ 3⁄4 cup sugar
✔ 1 large egg
✔ 2 tsp. grated
✔ 1⁄4 cup sour cream
✔ 1 cup flaked coconut
✔ 1 cup coarsely chopped
walnuts or pecans
✔ 3⁄4 cup raisins
✔ 3⁄4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 175ºC (350ºF). Butter 3 baking sheets. Sift flour, baking
powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
Cream butter in a mixer
bowl, add sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy.
Add egg and beat until
smooth. Add lemon zest and beat until blended. Stir in 1⁄2 of flour mixture
until blended. Stir in 1⁄2 of sour cream. Repeat with remaining flour mixture
and sour cream. Stir in coconut, walnuts, raisins and chocolate
Push batter from a teaspoon with a second teaspoon onto prepared
sheets, using about 1 Tbsp. batter for each cookie, mounding them high and
spacing them about 5 cm. (2 inches) apart.
Bake about 12 minutes or until
light brown at edges and nearly set but still soft to touch in center. Using a
metal spatula, carefully transfer cookies to racks. Cool completely. Cool baking
sheets and butter them. Make more cookies with remaining
Makes 36 to 48 cookies
These cookies are
from Starting with Ingredients: Baking.
Author Aliza Green writes that these
oatmeal cookies are ”packed full of chunky fruits and nuts...
the more familiar additions of raisins and walnuts, the cookies get a share of
bittersweet candied orange peel, sweet, chewy dates, tart red dried cranberries,
and chopped pecans.”
Green makes use of a technique that she learned from
food styling for TV: “For more colorful cookies, reserve a portion of the fruits
and the nuts and press a few of each into the top of each cookie before
You can keep the cookies in a cookie tin or similar container
for up to a week, or you can freeze them before baking.
“Once the dough
balls have been formed, they will freeze perfectly, ready for baking. Spread in
a single layer on a pan lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until hard.
Transfer to zipperlocked freezer bags with the air squeezed out and
Green makes the dough from 110 gr. (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) white
Since this flour is not easy to find, I have
substituted a mixture of whole-wheat and all-purpose flour.
✔ 55 gr.
(about 1⁄2 cup) whole wheat flour
✔ 55 gr. (about 1⁄2 cup) all-purpose flour
✔ 110 grams (1/4 pound or 1 1/2 cups) oatmeal, not instant
1⁄2 tsp. fine sea salt
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
✔ 110 gr. unsalted butter,
✔ 1⁄2 cup sugar
✔ 1⁄2 cup well-packed dark brown sugar
✔ 2 tsp. vanilla
✔ 2 large eggs
✔ 55 gr. (6 Tbsp.) chopped candied orange peel, homemade
✔ 110 gr. (3/4 cup) pitted dates, sliced
✔ 55 gr. (1⁄2 cup plus 2
Tbsp.) dried cranberries
✔ 170 gr. (11⁄2 cups) pecans, roughly chopped
oven to 175ºC (350ºF). Line two 46x33-cm. (18x13-inch) half sheet pans with
parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a large bowl, whisk together
the dry ingredients: flour, oatmeal, salt and baking soda.
In the bowl of
a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar,
dark brown sugar, and vanilla until light and creamy, 5 to 6 minutes. Beat in
the eggs, one at a time.
Add the flour mixture and beat just enough for
the mixture to come together and form moist clumps. Add the candied orange peel,
dates, cranberries and pecans and beat briefly to combine.
Scoop or spoon
the dough into walnut-sized balls. Arrange the balls equidistant from each other
in rows of 3 and 2 on the baking pans and press down with your palm to flatten
slightly. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool to room
temperature on a wire rack. Faye Levy is the author of