Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sumboosic- Half Moon Cookies -ANYONE KNOW THESE COOKIES?

"The man for me is the cherry on the pie. But I'm the pie and my pie is good all by itself. Even if I don't have a cherry"
 Don't you love when you stumble across a recipe that you have never seen anywhere? You say to yourself, "WOW ...this sounds good. " Then you keep reading further and discover the directions don't exactly match the ingredient list .  

This is exactly my dilemma with this recipe below. A google search revealed no new results to this recipe. They are all the same :(
I found this recipe by searching for 'MAHLAB' recipes.  I have always wanted to bake with  it.

 What is Mahlab?

Mahlab, Mahleb, or Mahlepi, is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of the St Lucie Cherry (Prunus mahaleb). The cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is about 5 mm diameter, soft and chewy on extraction, but ground to a powder before use. Its strong aroma means that it only need be used in very small quantities, the flavour being similar to a combination of bitter almond and cherry 
It has been used for centuries in the Middle East and the surrounding areas (especially in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Kuwait, Armenia, Iran, Libya and Greece) as a sweet/sour, nutty addition to breads, cheese, cookies and biscuits. In the United States it has long been a staple in Greek American Christmas cake and pastry recipes.
I baked 1/3 of this recipe for experimentation -changes in RED
6 c. flour- 2 cups all purpose flour
1 c. rendered butter  3 oz clarified butter
1 c. oil 3 oz Safflower oil
1/2 tsp. ground mahlab (blackcherry kernel) 1/8 tsp Mahlab
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. ground anise seed(  yansoon) 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 lb. ground walnuts 5 0z ground walnuts
Milk  1/4 cup
1/2 c. sugar 2 0z sugar
1 tsp. mazzaher (orange blossom water) 1/8 tsp orange blossom water
2 c. syrup ???
Mix flour, butter, oil, mahlab, cinnamon, salt, anise seed, and baking powder.
Add enough milk to blend together well.
Knead for several minutes until dough is soft and elastic. 
Make dough into walnut size balls. Roll dough into circles. 
Place about a teaspoon of filling (ground walnuts, sugar, and mahlab) into each circle.
Fold over the half moon shape and seal the edge by pressing with a fork. 
Place on a cookie sheet about 1/4 inch apart and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until light brown and let cool. 
Dip in syrup and drain in colander. 
This can also be prepared by sprinkling hot sumboosic with confectioners sugar.
 As you can read, this recipe mentions the Mahlab twice to be added, and no mention of the orange blossom water. Plus, the two cups of syrup? Is this were they orange water is added?. Is it a simple sugar syrup? 
So I added the mahlab to the walnuts, and added the orange water to the milk then added it to the dough to mix. I did not make the syrup, i just used the confectioner's sugar. However, I would make a simple syrup to dip them and add the orange water to it, next time.
The dough was sticky. It stuck to everything as I tried to roll it, and cracked when i folded it. I chilled it @ 30 minutes in the fridge, and then i rolled it between so pieces of cling wrap. Then i used the cling to fold over the dough, and seal. That WORKED! 
They bake for a long time @ 20 mins. Once cooled they are very light, and powdery in texture. Like a cookie made with confectioners sugar. The filling is a bit sandy, from the walnuts and sugar. It is not bad at all .:)
The taste, I will tell you , I really like.  The combination of Mahlab, and Anise is very nice/unusual. Mahlab (tastes just like a bitter cherry) Something I have never tasted in a cookie before. I plan on making a nice walnut or pecan shortbread with these flavors. I bet it would be fantastic!, and maybe a little citrus to brighten it all ..HMM....
So this recipe was not a complete disaster. I love finding new combinations of flavors for my baking. This is why I bake.  
IF ANYONE would like a crack at this recipe, or knows anything about these cookies. PLEASE TELL ME> I am very curious about the origins of them, and exactly how to bake them . Let's hope someone answers. Or Maybe if i am lucky, Dori or David, Francois, Nick,  will re invent them :) 

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