Monday, 4 May 2015

Barazek - Sesame & Pistachio Cookies (Secret Recipe Club)

Sesame and Pistachio Cookies

My assignment for Secret Recipe Club this month was to cook something from Sawsan's blog Chef in Disguise.

Having just returned from Egypt, looking around Sawsan's blog was an absolute delight for me. She's a Palestinian who grew up in Jordan and has recently moved to UAE. Many of her recipes reflect these influences, and lots of the middle eastern techniques and ingredients were familiar, both from my recent Egyptian trip and from previous studies of Turkish cuisine.

I was extremely tempted by this cinnamon bread, which reminded me of one that was a breakfast staple in Egypt - but looked a little time consuming for the time I had available this weekend.

In the end I settled on making some cookies instead. Pistachios are among my favourite nuts, and I love sesame seeds, so Sawsan's barazek recipe jumped out at me. As well as sounding utterly delicious they're just so pretty, with the sesame coating on one side and the pistachios embedded in the other.

I found that I needed to use a spoon to persuade the sesame mixture to adhere properly to the cookies. I also had quite a lot of pistachio and sesame left over, when I ran out of cookie dough, so I might start with slightly smaller quantities of the toppings next time.

Cookies ready for dipping

Cookies in progress

Barazek - Sesame & Pistachio Cookies
Makes 30 cookies

For the cookies:
200g (1 cup) butter
215g (1¼ cups) icing sugar
2 eggs
2tsp vanilla extract
2tsp white wine vinegar
500g (3 cups) plain flour
1tsp baking powder

For the toppings:
130g (1 cup) shelled pistachios
200g (1 cup) sesame seeds
3tbsp honey
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together (you may need to slightly soften the butter, first, but don't melt it).
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat into the butter mixture.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and vinegar.
  4. Fold in the flour and baking powder, and bring together to form a dough.
  5. Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour or more.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the honey and sesame together on a large plate. Chop the pistachios and place on another plate.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  8. Divide the dough into 30 walnut-sized balls.
  9. Roll each ball between your palms and flatten to a round cookie shape.
  10. Press each cookie into the pistachios first, and then coat the other half in sesame using a spoon.
  11. Arrange on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.


Sarah said...

Those sound delicious. A great SRC pick! I just wonder how to use the honey in the toppings?

Rachel said...

They do look delicious!

Rachel Cotterill said...

@Sarah you mix the honey and sesame together (it's in step six) and then it helps stick the sesame in place - it also becomes lovely and crunchy in the oven :-)

Anna Hagen said...

I bet these taste heavenly. I especially love the idea of the sesame seeds and honey. Oh, wow!

Chit Chat Chomp said...

I agree with Anna - I love sesame seeds and honey together - perfect match!

Avril said...

Such exotic and beautiful cookies you made! :-)

MotherWouldKnow said...

What fabulous cookies - and they use 2 of my favorite ingredients, pistachios and sesame seeds. I noticed that the recipe uses white wine vinegar for the cookie dough. I'm curious what role that unusual cookie ingredient plays - can you taste it?

Lisa said...

Wow, this recipe looks so cool and I bet there's a lovely crunch to every bite.

Rachel Cotterill said...

@MotherShouldKnow You can't taste it! But vinegar reacts with baking powder as a raising agent - I use it in cakes a lot, actually :-)

Marie @ Not Enough said...

Pistachio and sesame are such an interesting combination. Middle Eastern food really is amazing! Thanks for sharing Rachel :)

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