Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Middle Eastern Sugar Cookies (Ma'moul Abiad)

These cookies are made with clarified butter called ghee that gives them a distinct creamy flavor. You can find it in the refrigerated section with the regular butter at Whole Foods, but comes in a glass jar rather than in stick form. This recipe is kind of a commitment and I almost gave up on getting these right, but the end result was definitely worth the effort!

4 T & 1 tsp. powdered sugar
1/2 c. ghee at room temperature
1 c. & 1.5 T all purpose flour
unsalted pistachios - remove shells

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix powdered sugar and ghee in a large bowl using your hands. It will look like pancake batter (pale yellow & slightly runny). Add the flour and continue mixing by hand until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate briefly (about 10 minutes). Remove from the fridge and knead the dough gently with your fingers. Take a small piece of the dough and form a ball about the size of a ping pong ball. Flatten the ball until it is about 1/4 inch thick and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and then press one pistachio on the center of the cookie. Do this for all remaining dough - should make about 12 cookies.

Bake at 300 degrees for 8-10 minutes until bottom of cookie becomes lightly golden. Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to cool on the pan for 10-15 more minutes so they can harden before you try to move them.

Note: I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet but that is not required.
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