February 9, 2009

"Forget Me Not" Sambusik Cookies

I'm not a big cookbook collector, it takes a really impressive collection to get me to commit to buying one. There are just too many recipes to try online, in magazines, etc. However, I leap at the chance at anything new to read that is food related. Fiction involving food is always welcome but the genre I really love includes the histories, science discussions and memoirs that revolve around food. My favorites are too many to list but here are some examples you might recognize: On Food and Cooking, Kitchen Confidential, Salt, Garlic and Sapphires, My Life in France. Just point me in the direction of a new book of this nature and a few days later I'll be on the couch devouring it-- it'll only be hours if it's available on the Kindle.

So I loved hearing about the Cook the Books Club. The club's current book is The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber. It's an engaging story of the author's childhood experience that centers around the experiences related to her Jordanian father. The recipe I really wanted to make was the "Nostalgic Chicken Livers", chicken livers with onions and lemon juice cooked in olive oil. It's a dish I order regularly at the various middle eastern restaurants around Detroit and I make it at home all the time. But, have you ever tried to take an attractive picture of chicken livers? I tried, but...

So I decided to play with her Sambusik cookies instead. To make them dairy-free I substituted walnut oil for the clarified butter. This gave the exterior dough a lot of walnut flavor. I also swapped orange flower water for the rose water. Rose water reminds me of a high school French teacher that wore too much rose perfume and I find it cloying. I think the orange flower water goes very well with the walnuts. The cookies were delicious with an enchanced walnut flavor. I think they might be even better with a touch of cinnamon as well. Here's my interpretation of her recipe.


My version of "Forget Me Not" Sambusik Cookies
Adapted from The Language of Baklava
Makes ~2 dozen cookies

Filling:
3/4 cup ground walnuts, lightly packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange flower water

Dough:
1/2 cup walnut oil
6 tablespoons milk (soy worked fine)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

~ 1/2 cup powder sugar to dust

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Stir together the filling ingredients and set aside.
-Mix together the oil, milk, and sugar. Add the flour and knead a small amount until a smooth dough forms.
-Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out 2 inch circles of dough. Fill each circle with approximately a teaspoon and a half of the nut filling. Fold over the circle of dough and pinch together. Bend to form a crescent shape.
-Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
-Cool and dust with powdered sugar.


I'm adding this to Bookmarked Recipes, an event started by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen's Experiments. Visit the new Bookmarked Recipes site for the roundup of other bookmarked and tested recipes. And give some of your saved recipes a try and post about them! I'm hosting in a couple of weeks.

38 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

Those cookies look so yummy! I love all the walnuts inside!

VeggieGirl said...

So lovely!!

jumbleberryjam said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I can not wait to try these cookies! YUMMERS!

Rachel said...

I agree that it would probably be hard to take an elegant chicken livers photo, so I'm digging your substitute recipe. I've never played around with orange flower water and it sounds fun. Thanks for joining us for Cook the Books!

Dawn said...

Oh those look good! Orange water...hmmm, yum yum!

jesse said...

Those substitutes sound even better than the original recipe, yum!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

These look sooo good! And packed with yummy walnuts to boot!

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

Okay, I have a secret. I used to go to the library and check out cookbooks because I felt the same way about them as you do. I joke that my laptop is my cookbook because it really is. Great cookies!

Daily Spud said...

I love pretty much anything walnut and I love how simple those sound (and yes, they look better than chicken livers too! :) )

Joelen said...

Looks like a fabulous cookie!

doggybloggy said...

crunchy, soft melt in your mouth delicious....these look so dang special...WOW!

Maggie said...

5 Star Foodie: Thanks! The insides are really great. The sugar melts and they puff some and it's delicious!

VeggieGirl: Thanks! I really want to play more with nut oils in baked goods now.

jumbleberryjam: I hope you like them.

Rachel: The group is a great idea! I can't wait to see what the next book pick is.

Dawn: Orange flower water is a fun ingredient, I keep it around but need to find more uses for it.

jesse: I'm sure the clarified butter version is very good but I like that some flavor is added with my dairy-free variation.

Alisa - Frugal Foodie: Thanks! I tried to stuff them as much as possible.

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes: I'm the same way. Even though it's one of the best cookbooks ever I don't own a copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking because you can find it in nearly any library.

Daily Spud: But chicken livers are so good!! They are best cooked in bacon, maybe that would be more photogenic?

Joelen: Thanks!

doggybloggy: I love that the filling is a surprise. I need to make more stuffed cookies.

Jamie said...

These cookies are gorgeous. This makes me sad that hubby is allergic to walnuts! I'd make these in a minute. And beautiful work; I can see how these could be prettier than chicken livers.

TavoLini said...

ahhh--but I want to see the chicken livers!!

I love fiction about food as well--so many stories, so many ideas. I do admit to reading cookbooks cover to cover as well.

gastroanthropologist said...

This recipe sounds so good. I agree with you about rose water. And my husband hates anything rose water or lavender in his food - he says it smells like bathroom potpurri. Love how simple this recipe is and always on the look out for a new walnut recipe.

vegwife said...

These look absolutely yummy! GREAT job! :-D

Medena (-Melitta-) said...

Oh, I have heard of these cookies, they look awesome!!!!

Donna-FFW said...

These look absolutely awesome. I can NOT wait to try them OMG delicious!

Ceres said...

These cookie look downright decadent!I bet they smell amazing while baking in the oven.

Cheryl Harris said...

those are really enticing. I wanna come over and have some!

Jo said...

These cookies look as if it'll just melt in the mouth type and I'm sure they are delicious.

shellyfish said...

I love these cookies, but haven't had any in years because they are usually so not vegan. You're a kitchen goddess!

Hannah said...

I've recently been spending a lot of time in my library's cooking and food section, too! There's just so much out there to read...!

And while I've never heard of these cookies before, they look fantastic and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to try one!

ARLENE said...

Oh, those cookies look divine! It so happens I made Bud's grilled chicken and special rice again tonight. If you love food-related books, try "The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry." It was a fun read.

Kevin said...

These stuffed cookies look so good!

Marysol said...

Maggie, it'd be hard to forget a cookie that looks that good!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

well maggie, i admit my photo of diana's chicken livers and okra dishes aren't very alluring, but i'm sure they would have made a great main course coming just before these lovely-looking crescent cookies!

Mom said...

Try reading anything by Laurie Colwin...she is one of my favorites...she died too young.

Sophie said...

These cookies look so soft & so inviting,MMMMmmmmm....

pigpigscorner said...

This looks really delicious with the nutty filling!

Jude said...

I'm liking the walnut oil substitution. I bet it gives the cookies a nice heady aroma.

chou said...

I loved reading Garlic and Sapphires. It made me think that food reviewers were human, too. :)

glamah16 said...

Yumm.I was looking at your reading lsts, and we have similar tastes. These cookies remind me of Viennese Cresents and some Greek ones except with filling.

inspiredbites said...

Those cookies look so good! I love that filling. Those are a must try cookie!

Cynthia said...

I LOVED Garlic and Sapphires. I'm currently reading this book by Nancy Spiller, it's called Entertaining Disasters and it's a fiction work about a food writer who has social anxiety and basically makes up all of her stories about hosting parties and things like that. It's an interesting read, has some real thought-provoking moments and parts of it are funny as hell.

jumbleberryjam said...

Just wanted to pop back in and let you know how the almond version went...it's hard to tell, really, as I didn't have a round cookie cutter large enough to handle even a 1/2 tsp of filling. So, the almond taste was lacking. I'm not sure if it's because of that, or just because the almond flavor isn't strong enough when using the same amounts as walnuts/walnut oil. I'd love to see what you think if you ever try it. :-)

Liray said...

lovely one

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of the ladies actually used this recipe. The six Tbsp milk made the dough very tough. I hope you test it before you comment. The picture does look beautiful and tasty.