Moroccan spicy caraway cookies

who said cookies have to be sweet?

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

Every time I make these cookies i think about my mother. My childhood memories are vividly brought up right in front of my eyes, a hint of smile on my face as I think how my mother made these special cookies, only a couple of times a year, as a special get together on high holidays. We would start the big meal with these spicy delicious caraway cookies and a cup of sweet fresh mint tea…we would talk…laugh…then the big meal begins. These rare but delicious treats will always stay special to me as my mother wasn’t a big baker, she cooked more than baked and sweets rarely mentioned in our household, yet she would surprise us with her Moroccan specialties she learned from her mother…a special lady I never had a chance to know.

Now trying my baking specialties I am still struggling to keep the dough together but not always succeeding at the task. The dough is soft and falls apart in your mouth, almost to a melting point and taste so delicious. The recipe is simple and contain only few ingredients but the trick is to keep the dough together while shaping it into little balls. I’m still working on improving my handling skills but I’m not intimidated and am still creating these treats. They go well with a nice cup of mint tea or your favorite cup of coffee.

The caraway seeds have a sharp flavor, almost like parsley…well it is from the parsley family, and are a beautiful savory addition to this simple dough, which i intentionally reduced the amount of sugar in it and let the seeds blend with the oil and be the star.

moroccan spicy caraway cookies

delicious moroccan caraway cookies

delicious spicy moroccan caraway cookies
moroccan spicy caraway cookies
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2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp toasted caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
tap water, as needed
kosher salt, pinch
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Preparation:

Let’s toast the caraway seeds in a small non-stick pan first. Just for a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them. Set a side.
In a large bowl combine the sifted flour, create a well in the center, pour the oil and add the rest of the ingredients including the caraway seeds. Gently knead the dough for a few minutes while adding tap water as needed and only if need. Mix until combined and you get a nice soft dough. Don’t over work the dough. Form one big ball, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. In the meantime, lightly grease baking sheet. Gently create small balls from the dough pressing gently to flatten them. If you get cracks while pressing, like I do sometimes, that’s o.k but if you don’t like when that happens, like me, just leave them in the form of balls. They look very cute this way and unique. Lay cookies on the sheet and bake between 20-25 minutes, until the top is light golden brown **

** I bake them 5-6 minutes longer as i like the top to turn a little darker and slightly crusty. Your personal preference.

Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite hot drink. For kids, it’s heaven with a cup of cold milk. So o.k. adults will like it too.

delicious spicy caraway cookies

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Shockingly simple, fluffy and delicious cinnamon rolls

Imagine this:

It’s Saturday morning, or Sunday (why not), you’re waking up slowly to something that smells…well…you’re not sure but it’s good. You’re stretching…looking outside the soft sun rays are peaking through…no rush today. Your nose tickles…you make a “sniffing” face…you smell something. Is someone in the kitchen? You’re getting out of bed…wild big bed-head is sitting on your shoulders (happens to me every time). You’re dragging your feet and follow the tantalizing aroma. The closer you get to the kitchen the stronger it is. It’s warm, it’s fragrant, it’s a smell you wanna hug.

You’re in the kitchen now and you see this:

baked crunchy cinnamon rollsNow the world looks so much…sweeter. Isn’t it?

These cinnamon buns are so fluffy and light they literally disappear in your mouth. The frosting adds a beautiful gentle touch because it’s so light and airy and it wont make you feel guilty. Well…maybe a little bit.

My mother bakes this gorgeous challah bread every Jewish new year and fills it up with nuts and goodies. I took her recipe and twisted it a bit: I used ready-made bread dough but divided it into little “bread” rolls, reduced the amount of sugar usually found in traditional rolls and for the frosting I used low-fat yogurt with a touch of sugar. My frosting recipe is so light and fluffy you can eat it on its own or spread it on a toasted bread. But here – it’s the cinnamon rolls’ best friend. And it can be yours too.

shall we:

The images below shows how easy, simple and fun it was to make:

spicy roasted nuts I made a simple mixture of roasted hazelnuts and spices

baked cinnamon rolls

I then unrolled the thawed bread dough to a rectangle and sprinkled on the nut mix.

baked cinnamon rolls with nutsI rolled dough and with a sharp knife I divided the roll into 2″ thick pieces.

baked cinnamon rolls

I then placed the mini rolls in a 9″ oven proof baking pan and sprinkled brown sugar on top.

home made cinnamon rollsWith the yogurt frosting drizzled I just couldn’t wait.

I like just a hint of cinnamon so only a bit was used. It’s lightly sweetened and spiced (I mean it) so it’s not overpowering. This recipe feels just right but it’s flexible and you can adjust quantities if you wish.

ingredients:
store-bought frozen bread dough, thawed
3/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar (for garnish)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
for the icing:
1/2 a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

preparation:

Heat oven to 350º. With a rolling-pin roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 9″x14″. No science here just roll even to a square, about 1/4″ thick. I happened to get a rectangular. Brush with melted butter. In a medium bowl combine nuts, sugar, salt and spices. Mix with a fork. Spread mixture on rolled dough. Begin rolling the dough from top to bottom creating a log. Seal edges by pressing log gently and leave it seal side down. With a sharp knife slice dough to pieces about 2″ thick (see photo above).

In a greased 9″, or larger if you like, oven proof pan place rolls cut side down (see picture above), close to each other. Be gentle – nuts get a little naughty and may slide out. Stuff them back in. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise for 40 minutes. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until rolls turn dark golden color or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Frosting: combine all ingredients and whisk for about a min. Refrigerate to thicken and until use.

Let rolls cool in pan until warm then with a spoon pour yogurt frosting on top in a swirling motion. Show it off and eat.

Bon apetite.