I find baking very therapeutic when I need to take a break and calm myself again. Since one of our cats died this week, and work has been nuts, I needed a couple of days of just puttering around the kitchen.
As an aside, Thanksgiving (the US holiday) is a nice idea in theory. In practice, it feels like everyone is desperate for a Norman Rockwell ideal, they think that turkeys come in perfect sizes and who think that their poor planning is someone else’s emergency. Of course, the reality is that most people are decent, and I only remember the twits.
This weekend I made the following cookies:
I’ve posted about gobs before here. They look a lot like a “whoopee pie” but are so much better.
Mamouls (or ma’amouls) are a filled cookie from the east end of the Mediterranean. The cookie is made with coarsely ground semolina, the same wheat that most pasta is made from. Recipe I used is here (I didn’t have orange flower water so I didn’t use it). Often these are made in special press molds, but I just made them as a disk of dough held in my hand and closed over the filling. The filling was a mix of dates, sugar and rose water blitzed in a food processor until mostly smooth (take the seeds out of the dates). In the US, Cream of Wheat cereal (a to-be cooked cereal like oatmeal) is the best source for semolina/farina. I love these with tea.
Rogella are a recipe I found in a Jewish cookbook lent to me by a former boss of mine. It was one of those “by the congregation of” cheap plastic comb bound books but I didn’t copy the cover of it and have no more info about it, although it may have come from somewhere in Berks County, PA. Now, Google thinks I mean “rugelach” when I do a search on “rogella” and I think it’s right. The recipe gives you a rolled up cookie just like a rugelach. I’ve been trying to make ones like Green’s from Baltimore but had no luck. What I made had the consistency of PopTart crust (I do love PopTarts). These are much closer to the texture of those from Green’s, and are like little bites of cinnamon roll.
The recipe for these:
3 cups all purpose flour
½ pound cold butter
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream (35% butterfat)
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon yeast
1 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In food processor, cut butter into flour until it looks like coarse meal. You can do this with a pastry blender but it’s much much quicker in the processor. Add yeast, yolks, cream and milk and pulse until it becomes a ball of dough. Divide dough into six portions, wrap in waxed paper or saran wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or more.
Combine nuts (I used almonds but you can use whatever you’d like), cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle a sixth on a sheet of waxed paper and place a portion of dough on top of the mix. Roll this into a circle, approximately 1/8 inch thick. Flip dough over and coat other side. Cut circle into twelve slices and roll each slice from wide end to narrow end. This will look much like a tiny croissant.
Freeze these on a cookie sheet for at least an hour. When frozen, either bake or store in plastic freezer bags. When needed, place on greased cookie sheet (or a sheet of parchment paper on the pan). Bake, frozen, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. They form a small pool of caramel around each cookie so space them at least two inches apart. You can break this off or let it stay.
Nutless wonders are pecan tassies, pecan pie tartlets, without the pecans. The silliness of the name might not quite translate if you aren’t familiar with colloquial American as a language. Nutless wonder is usually a derogatory term for someone who is a coward (having no testicles/cojones/nuts) and a twit. My husband doesn’t like nuts, but finds the goo in the tassies wonderful, so that’s where the name came from and we of course snicker every time we say it. I use my favorite pie crust recipe (here) and make the filling. It is not the same as pecan pie filling in that it does not have corn syrup, e.g. Karo Syrup, in it.
1½ cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a mini-muffin tin with dough in each cup (allow some dough to stand above each cup) and then fill about half with filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 325 degrees. You want the dough to be light brown.
I’ll likely be making more cookies as the season progresses. Other cookie recipes on this blog: