Saturday, September 13, 2008

Making Ma'amoul

So I am experimenting with different ma'amoul recipes, tried to do my own, but still not happy with the results. Honestlly, I really don't know what ma'amoul cookie is supposed to be like. The only exposure I had was to the store bought kind, which is much like the newton cookie. I really doubt authentic ma'amoul is that cakey. If you have a great recipe for ma'moul please pass it along.

But the real purpose of this post is to show you a cool Yemeni tool which is traditionally used to make ca'ak (a crumbly bread made with corn flour). But since it makes exceptional designs, it works for ma'amoul too! I had so many of different designs and sizes, though I don't know what happened to them. Anywho I wonder which tool is better, the Yemeni tool or the Shami tool? I seen the Shami one and it was with splinters and I can't figure out how one can remove the cookie. But the Yemeni tool has a 'button' on top which you puch to eject the cookie. Sigh, I should have bought a box full of these gems when I was in Yemen, maybe I would have sold them for a big profit. Hmm...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sherba harish beydha (creamy bulghur pudding)

This is a common Yemeni dish served with every iftar. It is reminiscent of rice pudding in that a grain is cooked with milk and sugar until it becomes thick and creamy. It differs in that sherba is served warm with melted semn (dark clarified butter) and honey.

1 cup bulghur, rinsed and drained
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 cups milk
3 tablespoon sugar (4-5 tablespoon if not using honey)
honey (optional)

Combine water, bulghur, and salt in saucepan, bring to boil, and cook over high for 20 - 30 minutes until tender and most of the water has evaporated. Add milk and sugar. Simmer for 35 minutes or until thickened and bulghur is soft. If not soft, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Place in serving bowls, put a small dallop of semn and honey and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shafuta (A savory buttermilk Ramadan dish)

This is a very simple and light dish that is served at every Yemeni iftar. It is not decadent, elaborate or fancy but I break my Ramadan fast with this dish every day of Ramadan. I don't think I could ever go without this dish in Ramadan.

I love it spicy but my stomach does not sit too well with it, the recipe gives both a measurement for mild and a measurement for spicy. Also the picture does not show it well, but the buttermilk is green from the mint.

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded* and cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup mint leaves, rinsed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1 quart buttermilk
Malooga**, torn into bite-sized pieces

Place jalapeno, mint, cumin, salt, and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk in blender or food processor and grind until smooth. Add mixture back into buttermilk and stir until well mixed. Adjust salt if necessary.

10-15 minutes before serving, place torn pieces of bread in serving bowls and cover with the flavored buttermilk.

*Some of the seeds can be add to make a spicy version
**Malooga can be substituted with any yeast flatbread (not pita nor lavash). French bread can be used but requires less soak time.

Malooga- Yemeni flat bread

This is a very common yeasted flatbread in Yemen that is eaten with eggs, buttermilk, fasoolia and it is used in the Yemeni Ramadan dish called shafuta. In Yemen, it is baked in a taboon but we don't have it here in the U.S. so we had to use a metal pan. We use a makhbaza from Yemen to apply the malooga to the hot pan. The makhbaza is a round, domed tool that you place the malooga on. You pick it up from the bottom which has a handle, and with one swift motion, you smack the malooga on the hot pan or the taboon. Since the majority of you will probably never be able to get a makhbaza, the only way left that works is to bake it like pizza crust.

2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
5- 6 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup semn, warmed
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil.

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the rest of the water, 4 cups of flour and salt. Mix with hand, adding more flour to form a stiff dough. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until dough is smooth, not sticky, and pliable.

Cover dough, and place in a draft-free place. Set aside for 1 hour or until risen.

On a surface sprinkled with flour, cut dough into mounds of the size of what you do for a large pizza. Let sit for 5 min. Preheat oven at 550 F. Mix the warmed semn with oil in a small bowl. Prepare a large surface by sprinkling flour. Place one of the mounds on the surface and pat down and stretch into a rectangle, 1/2 an inch thick (about 20 x 15). You can use a rolling pin but you need to use extra flour to prevent sticking.

Brush entire surface with the semn-oil mix, or use your hand. Fold dough in half towards you. Brush the top surface with semn-oil mix and fold it in half towards you again. Brush with semn-oil mix and fold in half sideways. Brush again. Fold sideways and brush with mix again. Finally brush surface and pinch corners together to form a ball. Place ball on the floured pan and, move on to the next one. By the time you have finished layering the last one, the first layered dough would be ready for baking because it had time to rest. Pat down the dough mound into a large round the size of a thick large pizza and place into a greased baking sheet. Brush and eggwash (1 egg + 2 tablespoons milk) or buttermilk on top. Bake in hot oven until bottom is brown and top has brown spots (it won't fully brown).

Semn - Dark clarified Butter

Glass container contains room temperature semn, bowl contains heated semn

Semn is a staple in Yemeni baking and it is also used to flavor sweet dishes. It is like ghee but it is cooked even beyond that point until it reaches a rich flavor and dark brown color. This is the only form of butter that is used in Yemeni cuisine. I believe I am the first to post a photo of and provide preparation instructions. I can't believe semn isn't common to any other cuisine.

Directions: Use a deep pot because the butter will foam and expand. The number of sticks to use depends on how much you need. A good size to start with is 4 sticks. Melt butter over medium heat. Remember never leave the butter unattended. Once it is melted, it will heat to a high temperature and then eventually expand. When it is starts expanding, turn down the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon until it shrinks back to normal size. Eventually it will stop expanding and just bubble. At this point you no longer need to stir. Watch carefully for browning. Because it is foamy, you won't be able to tell its true color until after it has cooled. So it is crucial that you watch out for the tiny specks and the color of the foam. You want the specks to be a dark brown, not a coffee brown which means it has burned. The foam should be a golden brown. Once it reached the right color remove from heat. Let cool until just warm. Pour warm semn into a glass container, avoid pouring in the solid material that had settled to the bottom of the pan. Cover with lid. Semn will solidify once cooled. Store semn at room temperature. When you need semn, scoop some into a bowl and heat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop until melted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cold grape leave dolmas (vegetarian)

This is a delicious appetizer that we like to serve next to Ramadan iftar, it is not a Yemeni tradition, it is just our family tradition that we just started.

I never really found a dolma recipe that I liked. After much trial and error, I decided to make my own recipe knowing what works and what doesn't work about the recipes that I have tried before. For example, a lot of recipes don't ask for garlic or something sour for the filling. So my recipe has the garlic and the tomato paste to give those necessary flavors. Also the rolling and cooking process has always never worked for me until now. One recipe asked for only 1 cup water and an another recipe asked for too much water, so you can imagine one came out barely cooked and dried and the other came out barely cooked and watery. Another important thing is to put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in each leaf. My friend gave me bad advice, telling me that since rice expands there is need for only 1 teaspoon of filling. That didn't work out as I ended up with half-empty rolls. But hopefully this is the only recipe that you will need whenever you have a hankering for dolmas.

3 3/4 cups long-grain rice (like Uncle Ben's)
1 1/2 cup fresh mint, rinsed and chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh parsley, rinsed and chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
5 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp dried spearmint
3 Tbsp olive oil

Wash rice and soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix the rest of the filling ingredients.
Set a pot half-filled with water to boil. Sort out the unusable leaves, blanch them in the boiling water, and then place on bottom of the pot you plan to cook the dolmas in. Then place the rest of the leaves in the boiling water, and boil for 30 seconds, carefully separating them with tongs so water can enter between them. Drain leaves well.

After the rice finished soaking, drain very well and add to the filling mixture. Mix well.

Rolling dolmas:

Cut off the the stem of the leaf. Place glossy side down on a plate. Place a tablespoon of the filling on the bottom half. Don't be afraid to put a lot, we want it packed. Than fold the sides diagonally towards the center over the filling, repeat this again and then sides horizontally, then proceed to tightly roll the lump with the filling upwards. Place in pan and proceed to the next leaf.
Step-by-step photo instructions are available at Greek Recipes with May Lerios: Dolmadakia or Dolmades

When finished with the grape leaves, mix

1/4 cup of olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

and pour of dolmas. Then pour enough water to barely reach the top of the dolmas. Place a heavy plate that is smaller than the pan so that it fits directly on top of the dolmas, then place a heavy weight. I used my heavy brass mortar. Bring to boil on medium heat and then lower heat to low. Cook for 1 hour or when more than half of the water is gone. Check if cooked, leaf should break apart easily. If not add about 1/2 cup water that is flavored with salt and lemon juice. Cook for up to 2 1/2 hours, replenishing juice when needed, 1/2 cup at a time. Let dolmas sit in juice and cool. Store in tupperware and refrigerate. Dolmas are best the next day.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stuffed potato appetizer

This is another appetizer we serve next to iftar usually in place of Ramadan. It is a common recipe, though this one is different because the potato mix is seasoned.

Beef filling (recipe below)
7 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs, stirred
1 egg white, stirred until frothy
bread crumbs

Boil potatoes until cooked and soft. Drain water and mash until smooth. Add spices and salt, mix. Add the 2 eggs and mix well. Place a thick layer of breadcrumbs on a plate, and place the egg white in a wide bowl. Take some of the potato mix, form into a round in your hand. Place a tsp of the beef filling on center of the round, and then close off the ball, using more potato if needed. If necessary use flour on your hands to avoid stickiness when forming the balls. When finished, roll the balls in the egg white and then in the breadcrumbs. Deep fry in hot oil until all sides are brown.

Beef filling:
2 tsp oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup parsley minced
1/4 tsp curry
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 salt

Heat oil and saute onions until light brown. Add beef, break down and cook until no longer pink. Drain fat. Add parsley, spices and salt and mix, cook for 1 minute. Cool.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Yemeni Ramadan, plus Samboosa recipe (Yemeni roll)

The foods that we serve for breaking the fast in Ramadan for our family, and we are Yemenis living in the U.S., may be considered simplistic to a nonMuslim but to other Muslims it may seem too extravagant.

I was watching Yemeni television yesterday, one of the actors played a Pakistani and the other was Yemeni. The Pakistani man visited the Yemeni man to break the fast together. The Yemeni came out with a serving plate loaded with different dishes including rice, chicken and vegetable stew. The Pakistani man was stunned. The Pakistani man explained to him that it is Islamic tradition to break the fast with just dates and then pray. Yemeni accommodated his Pakistani friend, and they went to the masjid with just the dates and prayed. Afterwards when they were back home, the Yemeni man brought out even more food for what is to be their dinner. The Yemeni man chowed down despite his friend's plea. The Pakistan man became exasperated and admonished for him for being so gluttonous. I thought it was hilarious because it hit home.

My family and many others usually serve more than we can eat and don't follow the tradition of praying before eating a meal. In the month we are ordained to abstain from food, but we eat more. The purpose of the fast is that we sense the hunger of those who usually go without food because they cannot afford it. Remember, the purpose of Ramadan is not to enjoy special dishes, it is to focus ondeen. Read the Quran and pray the Taraweeh each day. What I do is I read five pages of the Quran before or after each prayer so that I would have read 25 pages a day. At this rate I will be finished with the Quran in less than 25 days. It is quite easy.

Does this mean we should stop making our special dishes? No, eat from what Allah gave us and be thankful. Make the dishes but don't make to much and force yourself to eat more because your cravings tell you. Especially don't make everything at once!

Now I bring you recipe that we serve with futoor. It is a Yemeni version of an appetizer that is made all over the Middle East and in South Asia.

Samboosa is like an eggroll but it is stuffed with cooked ground beef and vegetables that are spiced with common Middle Eastern spices. Of course, every person has their own variation and then I tend to make the samboosa different each time. It depends on what spices and vegetables I have on hand.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp red pepper paste
1 cup peeled and diced potato
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1 cup lentils, boiled in water until cooked, drained
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Tortillas or Egg roll wrappers

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan, add the onion and saute until golden brown on medium high. Add the ground beef, then with a wooden spoon break down the ground beef and cook until there is no pink left. Add the minced garlic, all the spices, as well as the tomato paste and red pepper paste. Stir and allow to cook for 1 minute. Then add the potatoes, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir and cook 2 minutes. Add the lentils cook 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, cook for 1 minute and turn off heat. Let themixture cool.

If using tortillas, heat the tortillas in a microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. This will make the tortillas pliable. Cut each tortilla or egg roll wrapper in 2 to 3 long strips (2 inch wide). Place some of the filling on one end. Using a flour-water paste to wet edges, fold diagonally repeatedly until you form a triangular roll.

Pour oil in vegetable pan, 1/2 inch deep. Heat on medium high. Place enough samboosa to fill the pan and fry until brown, flip and fry on other side. Place samboosa on a paper towel to drained Serve hot.

Unfried samboosa can be stored in freezer burn-proof ziplock bags and placed in the freezer. To thaw, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before frying.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Award from Kitchenflavours!

I received an Arte Y Pico award from a great food blogger, KitchenFlavours of Yummy Food!

She has a collection of exquisite recipes that you have to try, please visit her blog!

The rules of the award are:

1. Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and their contribution to the blogging community.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name of and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. Show these rules.
I take the honor to pass on this award to:

who provides visitors with the taste of India
Arabicbites because of her wide array of Arabic recipes
Ya Salam cooking for the mouthwatering Middle Eastern recipes
Hommus & Tabbouli for providing recipes of Middle Eastern classics
Health Nut whose collection of healthy and exotic recipes are refreshing

Joy from Fasting to Feasting - Ramadan Mubarak

May every Ramadan be as peaceful and blessed for us all.

I am participating in an event Joy from Fasting to Feasting held by Lubna Karim and Yasmeen in which we celebrate Ramadan online.

Blogs participating in the online Ramadan event are:

Egypt -

India -

Malaysia -

New Zealand -

Riyadh -

US -

US -

US -

US -

US -

US -

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cappuccino cake with caramalized nuts (poorman tiramisu)

The reason why I call this a poorman tiramisu is because the concept and the taste is similar to tiramisu but with less expensive ingredients. Instead of mascarpone cheese, ladyfingers, and espresso, cappuccino cakes calls for cool whip, graham crackers, and instant coffee. But the cappuccino cake is delightful and will be a big hit with your family, I am sure of it. This recipe is quite popular among my friends, though I don't know who initially came up with the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Cappucinno Cake

1 cup almonds
1 cup sugar
2 (6 oz.)cans of danish cream like Puck brand
1 (8 oz.) container cool whip
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup water
1 (14.4 oz) box of graham crackers.

Heat sugar and almonds in saucepan until sugar turns to caramel color, then pour hot mixture onto a sheet of aluminum foil and let them cool. Once cool, crush the hardened caramel into coarsely pieces or grind them into finer pieces. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the 2 cans of cream, cool whip, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, and about 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk. In a separate bowl, mix water, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, and the rest of the sweetened condensed milk. Dip crackers in the coffee/condensed milk/water mixture on both sides for a few seconds (not for too long because they will turn soggy). Start layering crackers in a 13x9 pan. Place some of the cream mixture and spread and then sprinkle with 1/3 of the almonds on top. Continue making the layers ending with a layer of almonds. Cover and refrigerate until the next day. Serve!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Debikh (Yemeni Chicken Vegetable Stew) Low-fat and healthy

This healthy dish is one of the main meals in Yemen. Everyone has a very different variation and I tend to very flexible with this dish so my stew differs with each time. Sometimes, I add new ingredients or omit some ingredients. It really depends on what spices and vegetables I have on hand. Here is the basic recipe with optional additions.

1/2 large onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced (optional)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 chicken, skinned and cut into 10 pieces (or 10 skinned drumsticks)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced (opt)
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced or cubed
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables like green beans, lima beans, peas, corn
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (opt)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (opt)

Fill a kettle with water, bring to boil and then leave on low heat.
In a pot, heat oil over medium high heat and then saute onions until just lightly browned. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 min. Add tomatoes, and cook until softened. Add chicken, salt, and spices. Stir to coat, cover. Stir occasionally, add some of the boiled water when needed to prevent the chicken pieces from burning. Cook until chicken is browned and cooked (about 28 min). Add carrots and celery and stir to coat, cover and cook for 4 min, stir occasionally. Add potatoes, stir to coat, cover and cook for 5 min. Add zucchini, mixed vegetables, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix tomato paste with a half cup hot boiled water and pour into pot. Stir everything together. Add enough hot boiled water until just barely covering vegetables. Bring to boil on med-high and then reduce to med. Cook for 10 -20 minutes until potatoes are cooked.

Spoon on cooked white rice and serve. Can be eaten with bread too.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Strawberry Jam-Filled Vanilla Spritz cookies

I did the Kuhn Rikon recipe for vanilla cookies and decided to fill them with strawberry jelly. The key to making a stickier jam filling is to heat the jam (in a bowl) in the microwave for 30 or so seconds, spread between the baked and cooled cookies, and let set for a couple of hours.

I also tried baking the jelly in some of the cookies by pressing a dent and filling the dent. Did not turn out great, so I poured some heated jelly once they were cooled. You can (and I plan to try this next time) press a dent in the center of the unbaked cookies to close the hole but don't fill it with jelly until after they are baked and cooled.

The recipe for the vanilla cookies is available at Kuhn Rikon's web site. It says 2 1/2 cups of sifted flour on the web site, yet on the leaflet that came with a product says 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted. I take that as measuring the 2 1/2 cups of flour and then sifting.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fatayer (Middle Eastern mini pizzas)

This recipe is a Yemeni twist of a popular food in the Mediterranean and Gulf Arab countries. I got this recipe from a friend. I put less cheese on mine though, and I used a blend of different cheeses this time. While I don't have the recipe for the dough ready, any pizza dough recipe would work fine. But I will write up the recipe next time I make the dough, so keep a look out for that.

Prepared pizza dough (let rise)

2 Tablespoon oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 tsp curry, or more
1/2 tsp cumin, or more
1/8 tsp black pepper, or more
1/2 tsp salt or more
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium tomato, chopped
Shredded cheese preferably mozzarella

Heat oil in saucepan on high heat. Saute potatoes in oil until browned and cooked. Add meat and brown, pour out any excess oil (usually the potatoes absorb the oil so there won't be much). Add seasonings and stir. Adjust flavors and remove from heat.

Preheat oven at 500 F. Cut risen dough onto floured surface into golf ball size. Let rest for 5 min, then pat down each one and place each on ungreased baking sheets. Make several pricks with a fork. Bake each sheet of dough rounds in a preheated oven for 3 min or until half cooked (not browned). Place filling on top of each bread round. Place some of the raw chopped onions and tomatoes. Finally top with cheese. Place back in the over and bake until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with hummus or sour cream

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Basbousa (Coconut Cake)

This recipe is a unauthentic (yet still yummy) version of the popular Middle Eastern dessert Basbousa. Traditionally Basbousa is meant to be dense, chewier, and made with semolina and yogurt. But I like the version that my friend gave me which is lighter and fluffier in texture and less syrupy.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup semolina
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, plus more for topping

Separate eggs, placing the egg whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. Make sure there is no yolk in the egg whites. Beat on high until whites are frothy, add sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks can form. Add egg yolks and oil and blend. Add semolina and all-purpose flours, baking powder and zest, and blend in well. Fold in 1 cup coconut flakes. Pour batter in greased 13x9 pan (or larger pan for a flatter basbousa). Sprinkle cake with coconut flakes. Bake in preheated 350 F for 20 to 25 min, until top is brown and toothpic comes out clean from the center.

Pour syrup (recipe below) over the cake as soon as it is out of the over. Can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.


2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
Crushed cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks or rose water or orange blossom water (optional)

Stirring constantly, disolve sugar in water on medium heat. When sugar is throughly dissolved, increase heat and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and your choice of flavorings. Boil for 5 - 10 min. Strain if necessary

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Best Low-Fat Banana and Blueberry Muffin

On the The English Patis blog I came across a low-fat (though not low-calorie) banana and blueberry muffin recipe that uses egg whites and olive oil instead of whole eggs and butter. Despite having little fat content, this muffin manages to be moist and tasty. The recipe uses metric measurements but I have converted them into American measurements as best as I can:

Low-fat Banana & Blueberry Muffins
2 cup + 6 tbsp + 1 tsp self-raising flour
1/3 cup porridge oats plus 1 Tbsp for topping
2/3 cup light muscovado sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 medium bananas - mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup + 3 1/3 tbsp buttermilk
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 egg whites - slightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper muffin cases. Reserve 1 Tbsp of the muscovado sugar. Mix the rest of it with the flour and 1 Tbsp oats.In another bowl, mix the egg whites, oil, and mashed bananas until well combined.Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and quickly stir and fold until just combined. Do not overmix.Add the blueberries and give it a few stirs. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Sprinkle the 1 Tbsp oats and 1 Tbsp muscovado sugar on top. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown.Let cool for a few minutes in the pan then remove and cool completely.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kuhn Rikon cookie press and Chocolate Spritz cookies

I recently bought a Kuhn Rikon cookie press (Amazon, $14.95). I am loving it so far. I can't believe how easy it is to use. It is much easier than scooping up cookie dough and plopping it on the pan though you cant use it on just any cookie dough. For example, chocolate chip dough and egg-white based dough will make for a disastrous event.

Well, the cookie press has an ample amount of shapes to choose from, but unfortuanly it does not have the pumpkin shape which is a really fun shape! The press also comes with decorating tips though it seems complicated to use (I have not tried it). The first recipe I tried doing was an almond-flavored cookie that I found on the Internet. It was too soft and so the cookies ended up flattening, thus losing shape. But I saved the remaining dough by adding more flour. Your best bet, however, is to follow the recipes that Kuhn Rikon provides (even though there are only four) and then branching out. Anywho, I tried the chocolate spritz cookies from Kuhn Rikon: a very tough dough but it works perfectly. It's tasty but not as chocolaty as I would like. Nevertheless everyone in my family ate them up quickly and I think I will do them again, maybe ice them next time. The recipe comes with the Kuhn Rikon cookie press but for your convenience here it is

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg

2 Tablespoons milk or water
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg, milk, vanilla extract, and salt
  5. Using a spoon stir in the flour and cocoa until well mixed.
  6. Remove the white ring at the base of the plastic barrel and pack the dough into the cookie press. Fit with the desired disk and screw white ring back in place.
  7. Place the press flat against the cookie sheet and squeeze the trigger to compress dough in the barrel. Use one click per cookie, lifting straight up and off the sheet.
  8. Space the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.
  9. For perfectly identical cookies, keep pressing cookies at consistent intervals every 1 - 2 seconds until no more dough remains.
  10. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Be sure to watch them so they don't burn!
  11. Gently transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
  12. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar if desired and let cool. Decorate.
  13. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.