Monday, December 16, 2013


Edible Greetings: Giant Sesame Cookies

برازق بالسمسم

How about making greeting cards, rose-scented and thoroughly delicious?

I always had fond memories of the giant sesame cookies I used to love when I was in my homeland Iraq. After many attempts I finally got the right texture of the cookie as I remember it. Then, the idea of using them as edible ‘greeting cards’ hit me, inspired by their huge size. The kids just loved them. I would make the ‘cards’ and they do the greetings. And the recipients of these edible cards, our friends, could not be any happier. Unfortunately, they are so tempting, that there is very little chance for them to stay intact longer than the time it takes to read them. Nevertheless, enjoy!

(Makes 20 large cookies)             

½ cup butter, and ½ cup canola oil
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon each of vanilla, ground cardamom, and ground fennel seeds

4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coarsely ground pistachio or walnuts
¾ cup honey, heated
¾ cup sesame seeds

For glaze (enough for 10 cookies): 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
About 4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven 400°F

1. With a mixer, beat together butter, oil, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, cardamom, and aniseed, about 2 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt, and add them to the creamed mix all at once. With a wooden spoon, stir them in a circular movement until well incorporated. Then knead lightly and briefly until the mixture gets together and forms into a ball.

3. Divide dough into 20 golf-ball size pieces.

4. Put nuts, honey, and sesame seeds in three small separate bowls (heating honey will make brushing it on the cookies much easier).

5. While holding a dough-ball, dip it in nuts first allowing its bottom to pick up as much nuts as possible. Then put it on a cookie sheet (no need to grease it). Flatten it with the fingers to ¼ inch thickness, shaping it into a disc about 4½ inches wide (tip: I use the hamburger ring-mold as a guide to make an evenly-shaped round). If wished, crimp edges by pinching with thumb and index finger. Brush the disc with honey, and sprinkle it generously with sesame seeds. Repeat with the rest of pieces. Leave space between them to allow for expansion. You might need 2 to 3 cookie sheets.

6. Bake the first batch in the middle of the preheated oven about 10 minutes, then take it up to the top rack, and put the second batch on the middle rack. In about 5 minutes, check on the top rack. The cookies are done when they nicely brown. Repeat with the other batches.   

7. With a thin pancake turner, carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely.

8. To glaze the cookies, mix powdered sugar, rose water, and enough milk to form a glaze of spreading consistency. Pour it on the cookies, and set aside until set. Using melted chocolate, decorate the surface with greetings or messages or whatever you fancy. 

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