Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Morocco: Sesame Cookies


Moroccan cooking is a blessing upon the Earth, so richly flavored and textured that I could cook nothing but couscous dishes my whole life and be completely satisfied. I'll get back to some more couscous later, but today it's sesame cookies.

This recipe is a slightly modified version of one from Kitty Morse and Danielle Mamane's beautiful book The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco.

It's a very dry, coarse cookie, perhaps more like a sweet, crunchy, oily breadstick. When they came out of the oven, I didn't like them much, so I gave them an almond topping. Turns out, this was unnecessary: by the next day, they were so cool and sweet that they were a wonderful treat.

So let these sit overnight before eating them – they're much better the next day.

Makes about 15

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cold water

Topping
Cinnamon for dusting
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp almond extract
15 halved almonds


Preheat oven to 375.

Mix oil, sesame seeds, sugar, and vanilla, then add flour and baking powder, then the water, mixing with fingers until the dough has formed coarse crumbs.

Roll the dough into 2-inch balls, flatten, and set on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

You can either press the almonds halves directly into the dough and bake them in, or cement them on later with the icing – take your pick.

Bake 20 – 22 minutes, let cool.

Mix the confectioners' sugar, water, and almond extract. Use the paste to glue the almond halves onto the tops of the cookies.

Let sit overnight.

1 comment:

Anna said...

yum! these look great. whether the almond decoration was unnecessary or not, they look pretty.