Supper Club: Rice Flour Cookies (Nan-e Berenji)

These cookies are really different. They're not for those who are afraid of adventure. The flavor from the rose water is really strong, and the rice flour makes them incredibly crumbly. You really should eat them while drinking hot tea to fully enjoy them, or the texture from the rice flour can be a little off putting.

I grew up with these cookies and was so excited to find the recipe for them a few months ago. Since making them then, I realized that I didn't like a few things with the directions of the recipe. I don't chill the dough for 24 hours. I don't roll them out. I use a cookie scoop and then roll the dough in my hand. I treat it like a thumbprint cookie and then sprinkle the poppyseeds in the indent.

While I was making this batch, I thought that some crushed pink peppercorns might be a good addition instead of poppyseeds in a few of them. The flavors worked really well together! Plus, they look pretty!

Rice Flour Cookies (Nan-e Berenji)
Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights - Nesta Ramazani

2 cups butter, (or 1 cup butter and 1 cup margarine)
¾ cup confectioner's sugar
2 eggs, separated
4 cups very fine rice flour
2 tablespoons rose water, (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
several tablespoons poppy seeds

Beat the butter well. Add the confectioners sugar gradually, beating it in thoroughly. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating continuously. Stir in the flour until well blended. Add the rose water. Beat the egg whites until stiff, and fold them into the dough. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 24 hours.

Roll the dough out between waxed paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Score the tops with the tines of a fork or imprint them with a pattern. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake on a greased cookie sheet in a 325°F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes. These cookies crumble very easily. They should remain white in color.

Some Persian women will make their own rice flour at home by soaking fine quality rice in cold water for 1 to 2 days, changing the water several times, and then draining the rice, pounding it to a pulp, pressing it through a sieve, drying it, and then pressing it through a finer sieve.

MacGourmet Rating: 5 Stars

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