Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A journey into the 1001 Arabian Nights world of sweets and a recipe: Hays cookies

Two years ago I started this blog and a whole world opened up for me on the internet. I discovered  new ingredients, amazing techniques but above connected with amazing people who are fond of food and gastronomy like myself.

On Google Plus I´m an active member of several food communities, one of them is called Foodies, a very active community where I met amazing people. Foodies feature a monthly theme and this month's theme is "Cook A Book" where you have to share a recipe that you have read in a book be it a recipes book or a novel. I really liked the idea but finding that specific recipe you really wanted to share was quite challenging.
I thought really and in my mind came images from the world famous ancient book of 1001 Arabian Nights. It's a book that described with vivid imagination the world during those fabled times. Of course, the book drew upon the lives of ordinary people and featuring several aspects of their living, including the foods they enjoyed and the sweets they craved for.It this this enchanted world of love and intrigue, of djinnis and flying carpets, of Shehrezade and Aladdin that inspired me to make this recipe.

The 1001 tales offered an insight into the amazing foods the heroes of the plots enjoyed. Delicious ingredients like dates, figs, all kind of tasty nuts, honey and also the amazing world of aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon and much more were the basis of the food featured in the tales and the staple of much modern Middle Eastern cuisine.

After some research I decided to make a recipe I've never heard about before:unbaked cookies called Hays. As much as I love baking, but the chance any time I steer away from the oven is pleasant and even magical like the Arabian Nights tales.
The cookies featured in this recipe are so simple to make but I guarantee the result will amaze you as it amazed me. They are packed full with the flavor of nuts, honey and spices. What more can you ask for?

For these nuts cookies you need:
  • 30 g pistachios
  • 30 g almonds
  • 40 g  bread crumbs or cookies crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 20 to 30 g brown sugar (I used panela)
  • 1/2 tsp of honey
  • 15 g of butter
  • Few drops of rose water
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
In a food processor combine all the ingredients except for the honey and butter. Process until you get the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the honey and mix and finally add the butter and mix until well combined.

With a small spoon form quenelles with the cookie dough, just fill the spoon and press it againt your palm then carefully release the cookie on wax or parchment paper. You can make different shapes if you want.
Once finished forming your cookies, put them in the fridge for at least half an hour before you serve them.

Try these cookies with a cup of minted tea or coffee and enjoy a trip to culinary wonderland where you  imagine yourself hovering atop of a magic carpet cruising over the gold and white castles of ancient Baghdad and Damascus!

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