Have a cookie

Nothing is as welcoming as the smell of freshly baked cookies. Try some old favorites.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
January 28, 2011 08:57
Pecan Puffs

cookies 311. (photo credit: DAN PERETZ)

Heaps of oranges in the market and the fresh scent of rain - winter is at last here and its time to gather the kids around the kitchen table for some cookie baking. Chef Ofer Maoz of Braff Catering brings back tastes from his childhood’s sweet memories.

ORANGE FLAVOR BUTTER COOKIES

Easy scented cookies to be served with a hot cup of tea.

Makes 24 cookies
✔ 175 gr. butter cut into small pieces
✔ 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
✔ pinch salt
✔ zest of a whole orange
✔ 1 tsp vanilla extract
✔ 200 gr. flour
✔ 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
✔ sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 160º. In the food processor bowl mix powdered sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, salt and orange zest. Process a few seconds to get all ingredients mixed. Add cold butter pieces and process again until mixture resembles sand. Continue processing another minute until a ball of pastry begins to form. Don’t process longer than absolutely necessary. Place the pastry on a floured working surface and knead about half a minute.

Create small elliptical balls (the size of a pecan nut) and roll each ball in sugar. Place on a lined baking sheet 3 cm. apart. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden in color. Cool before placing in an airtight container.

OATMEAL COOKIES

Simple, homemade cookies that are loved by children and adults alike.

Makes 14 large cookies
✔ 175 gr. soft butter
✔ 1 egg yolk
✔ 1⁄4 cup sugar
✔ 1⁄2 cup flour
✔ 1 tsp. baking soda
✔ pinch salt
✔ 1⁄2 cup instant oats
✔ 1⁄2 cup pecan nuts, ground

Heat oven to 190º.
In an electric mixer whip sugar, salt and butter until fluffy. Add egg yolk and continue whipping. Stop, scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl and continue mixing 2 more minutes. Sift flour and baking soda into the egg mixture. Add pecans and oats and mix by hand until smooth. Place mixture in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Line a baking sheet and create 14 equal-sized balls. Place 5 cm. apart and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Place on a rack to cool.

ALMOND LACE COOKIES

These are very delicate and lightweight so when packing them be extra careful.

Makes 30 cookies
✔ 1⁄2 cup white almonds
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ 3 Tbsp. flour
✔ 1⁄2 cup sugar
✔ 2 Tbsp. cream (38% fat)
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
✔ pinch salt

Heat the oven to 190º. Place almonds in food processor and using pulses process until crumbled, but not too much or the almonds will turn into a fatty mass.

Heat cream, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a double pan (over water) and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and mix until all the sugar is melted. Add the flour and almonds.

Line a baking sheet and place small heaps (teaspoon size) of the batter, leaving 4- 5 cm. spaces in between the cookies. The cookies expand a lot during baking. Bake 5 minutes or until golden in color. Take out and cool about a minute. Lift and place on a grid to cool completely.

Store in a tightly closed box with layers of baking paper between.

PECAN PUFFS

The smell of pecans and butter will make everybody come into the kitchen. Beware – they are usually eaten up before you can store them.

✔ 120 gr. butter
✔ 2 Tbsp. sugar
✔ Pinch salt
✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
✔ 1 cup pecan nuts (120 gr.)
✔ 1 cup flour
✔ 1 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 150º.
Place pecans and flour in the food processor and process in pulses until nuts are ground.

In a separate bowl, beat together sugar, butter, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and knead lightly into a nice, easyto- work dough.

Shape the dough into 2-cm. balls and bake in a lined baking sheet, 3 cm. apart, for 45 minutes. When still hot dip in a bowl with powdered sugar and roll until covered. Place on a rack to cool completely. Dip in the powdered sugar again when cold and place in an airtight container.

LEBKUCHEN WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZING

These are Austrian spice cookies that look very sophisticated but are easy to prepare.

✔ 115 gr. soft butter
✔ 115 gr. dark sugar
✔ pinch salt
✔ 1 beaten egg
✔ 1⁄2 cup molasses
✔ 31⁄2 cups self-rising flour
✔ 1 tsp. dry ground ginger
✔ 1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
✔ 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon for the glazing
✔ 120 gr. white chocolate
✔ 120 gr. milk chocolate

Heat oven to 180º.
Beat butter, sugar and salt at medium speed until light and fluffy. Continue mixing and add the egg in a thin stream, and then the molasses. Stop, scrape mixture from the sides of the mixer bowl and continue mixing 3 minutes more. Sift the flour and spices into the bowl and knead by hand until smooth. Wrap in plastic foil and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 1⁄2- cm.-thick leaf. Using cookie cutter create any shape cookies.

Place on a lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool.

Melt the chocolate in two bowls. Save 2 Tbsp from each and place in small plastic bags.

Place cookies on a rack and glaze with the chocolate.

When the chocolate is set and dried, cut small holes in the plastic bags and use them to decorate the cookies, using white chocolate to decorate the dark glazed cookies and the dark chocolate to decorate the white glazed ones. Place in an airtight container with baking paper between layers.

DARK DATE AND SPICES ‘MAKHRUD’

These are made from my grandmother Esther Zaken’s recipe and arrived with her from Kurdistan. The aroma of oranges, spices and dates, mixed with butter, spreads in the house while baking and draws everyone to the oven. They are great with mint tea.

✔ 125 gr. cold butter
✔ 21⁄4 cups flour
✔ zest of an orange
✔ 1 beaten egg with pinch salt
✔ 1 tsp vanilla
✔ 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
✔ 50 gr. sugar

For the filling
✔ 1 cup natural date paste
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. cinnamon
✔ 1⁄8 tsp clove

Place flour, sugar, orange zest, butter and baking powder in the food processor bowl, and process with metal blade until crumbles and resembles sand. Add egg and vanilla and continue processing until a ball is formed. Do not overwork the dough. Turn on a floured work surface and knead into a ball. Place covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Mix all the filling ingredients. Roll the dough into a 1⁄2 cm thick sheet and spread the filling evenly using a butter knife. Roll tightly into a roulade. Cut into 3 cm. thick slices and place on a lined baking sheet 3 cm apart.

Bake in a 180º oven until golden. Chill thoroughly and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container with layers of baking paper. Best eaten up to 5 days after baking. 

Courtesy of Braff Catering


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