Persian Rice Cookies
Ramadan is upon us and this year I wanted to start creating traditions. As Z is now 3 and a half I realised that she needed to start understanding about who we are and what we celebrate. So what better way than to make a special dessert that could be handed out as Ramadan gifts to all our friends and family.
Every year I usually concentrate on Eid and a sweet dish for the morning – which means that Ramadan normally gets my creative touch of chocolate covered dates. This year however I was up for a challenge and even though I had to get my head around this recipe a month in advance as it was very out of my comfort zone, I still managed to pull it off – with some help from Z and Daddy.
Traditionally this type of cookie is from Persia and can be made with either normal flour or rice flour. Growing up we used to have this cookie for certain special occasions. However I did not know the originality came from Persia. Instead, for us we know them as ‘Khataya’ something my grandma would make or we would receive as little gift treats. To know the background of these cookies has really got me excited and even though it took a while to make it with all the different sections and the careful approach of baking and cooling. I know for a fact that it is a definite one to stay on our ‘create a tradition’ list for every Ramadan.
Makes: Approx. 36 cookies
For the syrup:
56ml rose water
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
For the batter:
225g clarified butter – can use salted or unsalted butter (instructions in point one)
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
420g rice flour (have up to 840g handy)
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- To clarify the butter, bring it to a boil over very low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, removing the foam from the top as it rises. When the liquid looks clear and the milk solids have settled at the bottom, pour the liquid through a sieve into another bowl (leaving the solids behind). Let this cool.
- Prepare the syrup by combining the sugar and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the rose water and lime juice, and set aside to cool. It should be room temperature and not too thick before proceeding.
- Beat the egg yolks into the cooled syrup until incorporated.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled butter, cardamom and rice flour. Mix well, then add the syrup mixture and mix until the dough is quite stiff and is no longer sticky.
- The dough should be thick enough to hold its shape when rolled. If not, add small amounts of rice flour until the texture turns firm and shiny but still malleable.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper. (We had 3 cookie trays ready on the go which helped with the production line concept as we could only use the top of the oven).
- Take a spoonful of dough the size of a walnut, roll into a ball between your palms, flatten slightly, and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat, leaving about an inch between the cookies.
- Slightly dent the middle of the cookie and sprinkle the crushed pistachios into the ‘well’.
- Place the cookies in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until firm and cracked on top. They should still be quite white.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before using a spatula to carefully remove them from the paper – these cookies crumble very easily and if taken off when slightly warm will split the bottom from the top.
The original recipe was found from ‘The Traveler’s Lunchbox‘ and I converted it to UK measurements to make it easier for myself to read. I love the way this traditional cookie can bring back so many childhood memories and is going to help in keeping those memories alive in Z for the future.