Monthly Archives: October 2012

Bethitha

I have wanted to try these cookies out for a while now and finally attempted them for Eid. I have come across quite a bit of Arabic recipes that involve cooking flour before using and the reason behind that is many Bedouins would cook the flour over the fire and use in recipes (ones that did not involve ovens) so even though they may not be baked the flour is still getting cooked. It can take a bit for the flour to turn lightly brown it did for me anyway on my electric stove. If you’re not sure just wait the flour will brown but be careful not to burn.

The types of molds you use are the wooden mammoul molds. They are quite handy and the cookie easily slips out of the mold. I have two versions and in the Middle East they decorate each mold with the same garnish since typically they use one mold for one flavor. These were really good and almost finished before Eid day even got here so I was really happy with the outcome.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup clarified butter
Powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish

1.In a sauté pan on medium high heat add the flour stirring constantly until golden.

2. Sift the cooked flour into a large mixing bowl the add dates, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, mix. Add butter then knead with hands until smooth and well combined.

3. Shape the dough into small balls the size of walnuts then carefully press the balls into the wooden molds, the tap out and place on cutting board or wax paper (large work surface).

4.  Sprinkle cocoa powder on half of cookies and powdered sugar on the rest.

Yields: approximately 15-20 cookies

Slightly adapted from sweets of arabia

(cookie molds plus cutters used for the pistachio Eid Cookies)
*Today, Saudi Arabia is the second largest producer of dates in the world.

Brasa de Brazil

Every time my family and I travel to Khobar (the corniche area) we always enjoy eating at Brasa de Brazil. It has a beautiful setting on the sea so you get great food and a great view. If you’re not familiar with a typical Brazilian style restaurant basically they have a huge variety of meat and they come around and serve you what you would like. My favorite is Fogo de Chao which we enjoyed in Chicago, Washington DC and Atlanta and if you’re near one you should go, it’s so amazing.

My husband goes for the meat and I go for the massive salad bar so we both end up being pleased. This particular venue served grilled shrimp, lamb chops, lamb leg, ostrich, gazelle, camel, beef, fish and that’s about all I can remember. Ostrich is probably the absolute worse meat that I have ever tried while gazelle is by far one of the best in the world, Arabs love gazelle. If you’re not a huge meat eater like me then you should go for salad bar which has an array of salads, maki, and a buffet which includes items like rice, pasta and vegetables. They also have a pretty nice dessert bar.

Pistachio Eid Cookies

I usually do not do a lot of baking for Eid but this Eid I decided to make some cookies. I made a few different batches and I will share the other recipes with you later on when I get some more time. I bought some mini cookie cutters from Wilton a few months ago and I finally got to use them with this recipe. Arabic cookies are always really small and never like the big cookies have we in the West. These are pretty much like a sugar cookie with pistachios and cardamom. I made half of the batch plain and then I sprinkled some green sugar (which I made from course brown sugar and green dye) on top. They were the perfect mix for those who like sweet and those (like my husband) who do not. I hope each one of you all is having a blessed Eid!

1/4 cup softened butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground pistachios
1 cup flour (maybe a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
dash baking soda
dash salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. In a large mixing bowl add butter and sugar, mix until fluffy. Add egg, mix. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and pistachios, mix well. Add flour, mix until a soft dough has formed.

2. Place dough in a plastic bag and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 350F. On a non-stick mat carefully roll out dough (not to thin or thick) and with mini cookie cutters cut dough.

3. Place cookies on a non-stick baking mat in the oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden on the bottoms. Cool and serve.

Yields: 60

*In China pistachios are known as ‘happy nut’.

Pumpkin & Nutella Loaf

A few weeks ago when we went grocery shopping I grabbed a can of pumpkin so I could make some pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin has always been a favorite of mine so I always look forward to this season when all the foodies are full speed ahead crafting recipes. I have noticed a lot of people tend to call this bread but it’s not bread what so ever remember just because it’s in a loaf pan does not make it bread and this is much more of a cake. This recipe is pretty straightforward and simple combining my families love for pumpkin and Nutella. You can have this for brunch, dessert or a snack and that to me is a great all-purpose recipe. 

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and line a loaf pan; set aside. (I use non-stick silicon pans)

2. In a large mixing bowl add butter and sugar with a hand mixer beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mix.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined.

4. Add pumpkin and vanilla; mix to combine.

5. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Drop Nutella over batter. Top with remaining batter.

6. Using a butter knife, swirl layers together.

7. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before serving. 

Yields: 1 loaf

*More than 70 million hazelnuts are used worldwide each day in the production of Nutella.