Monday, August 11, 2008

Sweet... Lebanese Nutty Cookies

Blog post banner for Cookie post


I am bit picky when it comes to what qualifies as a good cookie. I like them buttery but not greasy. I don't appreciate gratuitous sweetness, it's like gratuitous violence in movies: totally lost on me. Sugar with a purpose is okay because it serves the very important purpose of balancing out the flavors or improving the texture of the crumb. Sometimes its essential job is just to sweeten my cup of tea.

Years ago, when I was new to exploring this wonderful culinary world, I made some middle-eastern treats. These were little logs, heavily perfumed with orange flower water and stuffed with dates and nuts. They were delightful and perfect with a cup of moroccan mint tea. Fast-forward to this weekend, I am looking desperately for the long lost cookie recipe when instead I come across the cutest, sweetest, nutty lebanese cookies.

Lebanese Walnut Cookies

I made one batch and asked for volunteers to try a few. After gobbling half a dozen, my kids were quick to suggest that we (meaning me) bake another batch... being their devoted slave, I obeyed their demands and promptly made another dozen. We were able to save enough to bring to our friends' house that night and they were a big hit with all.

If you try out this recipe, you might want to double the batch from the get-go because you're sure to have many more requests for these little gems.

I've decided to post both the gluten-free version, and the gluten-loaded version for all of you non-wheat limited individuals out there.

Lebanese Walnut Cookies


Lebanese Gluten-Free Walnut Cookies


Ingredients:
100 g of unsweetened butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoon of orange flower water
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup almond meal or walnut meal
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xantham gum

For the filling, mix in a bowl:
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Steps:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream the butter with the sugar, until you obtain a white cream.
Add the orange flower water and mix energetically.
In a bowl mix the flour, meal, starch and xantham gum until well combined.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the creamed butter. Mix well.

Form ping-pong sized balls with the dough. With your thumb create an indentation in each center. With the help of a small teaspoon, pour some filling into each each cookie center. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden and have firmed up to the touch. Let cool on a rack.



Lebanese Walnut Cookies, the Gluten-Loaded Version

Ingredients:
100 g of unsweetened butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoon of orange flower water
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal or walnut meal


For the filling, mix in a bowl:
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Steps:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cream the butter with the sugar, until a white cream is obtained.
Add the orange flower water and mix energetically.
In a bowl mix the flour and meal until well combined.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the creamed butter. Mix well.

Form ping-pong sized balls with the dough. With your thumb create an indentation in each center. With the help of a small teaspoon, pour some filling into each each cookie center. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden and have firmed up to the touch. Let cool on a rack.

15 comments:

cookinpanda said...

I'm not particularly a cookie person, but these sound right up my alley. I'm more a nut-cookie person than a chocolate cookie person so these sound good. They look delicious as well.

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, I think I LOVE you for posting this! We used to get these at the bazaar at church ALLL the time when I was younger. My FAAAAVORITE Lebanese treat!

VeggieGirl said...

What an enticing cookie variety!!

Tartelette said...

I could gobble up more than a dozen myself! They sound and look fantastic!!

Aran said...

gluten free? they look delicious... i am bookmarking this since i am always looking for gluten free cookie recipes.

Antonio Tahhan said...

yum! Kate from aaplemint recently posted an entry on the ma'amul cookies (the ones stuffed with dates) and I just love the Lebanese vibe that's been going around lately :) I grew up eating these cookies and so your post reminded me of good times! I'm craving those cookies now - they look amazing!

Alexa said...

Cookingpanda,
Thanks for your comment. This recipe is definitely ideal for non-cookie people as well.

Katie,
So happy my post made you jump for joy. Thanks for stopping by.

Veggiegirl,
Thanks!

Tartelette,
Merci. It's hard to resist a good cookie.

Aran,
Thanks for your visit. They're by far the best gluten-free cookie I've made. The best part, is they taste even better a day or two later kept at room temperature in a sealed container.

Antonio,
Thank you. I'll have to check out Applemint's post on ma'amul cookies :-)

Kevin said...

Those cookies look good! I like sweets with nuts.

LyB said...

I love the idea of making a little nutty filling for the cookies. And they're beautiful too, bonus! :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Alexa, these are so beautiful. I do love baking with nuts and I'm also a cookie lover - will be trying these soon!

Alexa said...

Kevin,
I favor nutty sweets as well.

Lyb,
Thanks. It is kind of like having a surprised jackpot in the center.:-)

Patricia,
I'm glad you found the recipe so appealing. Thanks!

cindy* said...

these look great...i love cinnamon and walnuts. i haven't tried cooking with orange flower water, but it sounds lovely.

bee said...

there are only one or two cookies i like, and this is one of them. thanks for a lovely recipe. my friend is allergic to gluten and would love this. you have a gorgeous blog.

Alexa said...

cindy*,
Orange flower water adds a little flowery citrus flavor to the cookie. You can always substitute a little orange zest instead.

bee,
Thanks for your visit... I hope your friend enjoys the cookie recipe. I appreciate your kind words.

GF Gidget said...

These sound fabulous, too!

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