During the winter months, I find myself drinking fewer cups of coffee and more herbal teas. It used to be that there were just one or two types of tea available for purchase in grocery stores. Nowadays, there’s a huge selection of regular and herbal teas to choose from.
Some people forgo the packets of tea completely and instead prefer preparing a big pot of water steeped with natural herbs or green tea. I personally am enchanted when I watch a traditional Moroccan tea pouring taking place in which sweet tea with lots of mint leaves is poured from very high up, which makes a loud bubbling noise as it lands in glasses. Traditional tea from Tripoli includes boiled peanuts inside the tea.
These days, you can buy a number of interestingly shaped teapots and unique glasses. You can also purchase extracts of lemon grass, lemon verbena, chamomile, cinnamon and add them to your steaming pot, alongside slices of orange or lemon. Alternatively, you can just add a bunch of fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, mint or thyme to a pot of boiling water.
Below, you’ll see that I’ve included three recipes for cookies that are the perfect complement for a mug of steaming hot herbal tea.
These Moroccan cookies are perfect to eat with a steaming cup of herbal tea.
Makes 40 small cookies or six extremely large cookies.
1¼ cups sugar
1 to 1½ cups water or orange juice
1¼ cups oil
4 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1½ Tbsp. whole fennel seeds
2 packets of baking soda
1 kg. flour, sifted
Melt the sugar with the water in a pot over medium flame. Add the oil, sesame and fennel and mix well.
In a mixer, gently mix flour with baking soda. Create a well in the middle and add the eggs. Mix while gradually adding the melted sugar. Mix until smooth. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little flour. If it’s too hard, you can add a little water.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of ½ cm. Cut out circles with a 20 cm. diameter using a plate if you want large cookies or use cookie cutters if you prefer to make small cookies. Use your fingertips to make indentations around the edge of the cookies and poke holes in the cookies with the tines of a fork.
Place the cookies evenly spaced on a greased baking sheet and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°. After the cookies have cooled, store them in an airtight container.
It’s best to add only half of the water to the dough and then gradually add more, since each type of flour requires a different amount of liquid.
MOROCCAN MACHINE COOKIES
These cookies are really easy to make and they stay fresh for a long time, so I recommend doubling the recipe. Take note that there’s no butter or margarine in the recipe – only canola oil (don’t use other oils).
Their shape is created by using a manual meat grinder with the appropriate cookie attachment. If you don’t have one, just form the cookies by hand into any shape you desire. These cookies are perfect to eat with a cup of tea.
Makes 50 to 60 cookies.
1½ cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
Zest and juice of a medium lemon
1 Tbsp. of citrus blossom water or citrus liqueur
3 packets of baking powder
½ cup blanched almonds, ground finely
1½ Tbsp. fennels seeds (optional)
1.2 kg. flour, sifted
In a large bowl, add the eggs and beat them while adding the sugar, oil, lemon zest, citrus liqueur and baking powder. Keep whipping until mixture is light and fluffy (you can also mix with an electric mixer for four to five minutes).
Add the ground almonds and fennel seeds and then gradually add flour while mixing. Keep mixing until smooth. Next, prepare the cookie machine.
Take a handful of the dough and put it into the machine. Crank the handle until the dough comes out in long strips. Cut each strip so that each cookie is 13 to 15 cm. long. If you don’t have a machine, form the cookies by hand in any shape you desire.
Arrange the cookies evenly spaced on a greased baking sheet and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 25 to 30 minutes or until they turn golden brown. When they’ve completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
You can make these cookies with any filling. You can also use store-bought fillings.
Makes 3 rolls (35 to 40 cookies).
3 cups flour, sifted
1 container sour cream or plain yogurt
1 egg (or just the yolk)
½ cup sugar
200 gr. butter
1 tsp. rum extract
1 packet vanilla sugar
1 packet baking powder
1 jar strawberry jam (regular size)
1 cup jelly (any flavor)
1 cup walnuts or pecans (or sugared pecans), ground
1 cup halva, crumbled
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
Add the flour to the bowl of an electric mixer and form a well in the middle. Add the sour cream to the middle. Then add the egg, sugar, butter, rum extract, vanilla sugar and baking powder. Mix on medium speed until dough falls away from sides of bowl. Alternatively, you can mix by hand.
If the dough is too sticky, you can add more flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for one hour.
Separate the dough into three sections. Flour your work surface and roll out dough until it’s ½ cm thick.
Spread ¹⁄3 of jam on each section and then sprinkle with ¹⁄3 of nuts, halva and chocolate chips.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and then roll up from the side closest to you. Press edges to seal well. Prepare other two rolls in the same fashion.
Bake the rolls on a greased pan in an oven (preheated to 180°) for 30 minutes or until golden brown. After they have cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice into cookies and store in an airtight container.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Don’t over-knead the dough, since this will cause the butter to melt and then you’ll need to add more flour.
If you want to make these cookies pareve, use margarine or coconut oil instead of butter and pareve cream or orange juice in place of the sour cream.For more recipes visit www.pascalepr.co.il