These Middle-Eastern cookies from Louisa Shafia’s latest book, The New Persian Kitchen, are very light in texture. The sweet dates are complimented by flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, and honey. These cookies are a perfectly great any time of day, but I love to eat a couple for breakfast with tea!
from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia (Ten Speed Press, 2012)
*makes about 18 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter or refined coconut oil, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fava bean flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of sea salt
To make the dough, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a disk. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, until firm but still flexible.
To make the filling, combine 1/4 cup of the walnuts with the dates, cinnamon, orange juice, honey, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mixture forms a thick paste. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make each cookie, wet your hands and break off a lemon-size piece of the dough. Flatten the dough, or make a well in it using your thumb. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the middle, then pinch the dough closed and roll it into a ball. Flatten the dough gently between your palms to form a disk 1 inch thick, and place it on the lined baking sheet. Press a pinch of the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts into the center of the cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Refrigerate the cookies for 45 minutes, until firm. While the cookies chill, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the cookies for 25 minutes, until the undersides are golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. In a clean spice grinder, grind the remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a fine powder. Dust the cookies with the powdered sugar and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.