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Date-and-Walnut-Filled Cookies (Koloocheh)

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Yields about 18 cookies

  • by from The New Persian Kitchen

These butter cookies are unmistakably Middle Eastern; Persian Jews make them at Purim, while Arabic Christians eat a similar cookie at Easter, as do Muslims during various Eid celebrations. The key to getting the cookies to keep their shape is to refrigerate them until firm after filling and shaping. The combination of gluten-free flours here produces a nutty taste and a light texture, but you can use an equivalent amount of white flour.

For the dough
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or refined coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup fava bean flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
For the filling
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
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.

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.

Make the cookies

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 tsp. 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.

Photo: Sara Remington © 2013

Reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

A good recipe generally. Some of the instructions could be more clear and ordered. Such as the 1/2 and 1/3 sugar. You have to go all the way through the recipe to find out what the rest of the sugar is for; likewise with the walnuts. I find her instructions for forming the cookies lacking. Better to form the pastry into a thick rectangle instead of a disc. After chilling cut that into 18 pieces; each of which I split into two. Make a flat disc out of each and a deep thumb print into each, put a whole tspn of filling into one print and put the other half upside down over, seal the edges gently and then form it into a "puck" shape in the loop formed by thumb and forefinger of one hand. Then place on sheet. Chill again and then use a cookie stamp or something to make patterns on top. Also, although I didn't do it this first time, I would consider an egg wash to make them nice and shiny.

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