Thursday, August 7, 2008

Iranian Shotgun Wedding Cookies

So, as mentioned before, I am on a quest to clear out my pantry and fridge of things I have had sitting around. This can be a little difficult because I have quite a queue of recipes I would like to try, ones that often don't involve things I have already... which leads me to get more things. Still, I am being good. Most recent example was getting rid of that half-bag of pistachios I had for who knows how long... and some orange lentils. I managed to do it in one fell swoop, too! I even managed to finish one of the four boxes of corn starch we have kicking around. All in the same recipe!

How is that even possible? Like watching a square peg go into a round hole, I really couldn't tell you. I just know it happened, by my hands, even.

Seriously, though. I would like to say you all know what Mexican Wedding Cookies (MWCs) are, but apparently all but two people I have asked out of a good twenty or thirty do. MWCs are a buttery, shortbread like cookie rolled around in powdered sugar before, and after, baking. They have a delectable crumble and roll around in your mouth. Most centering is the aromatic toasted pecans that are finely ground and mixed into the butter-flour base.

What is the problem with that? Absotively nothing. They are wonderful. Actually, there is a problem, for me. It is easy to find a use for pecans, white flour, and butter (substitute). So I have no use for such a recipe, right now. Yet, I absolutely must bake, or else I will asplode. So, I have been fingering through a book of desserts, and everything I have veganized from it so far has been wonderful. As I was looking through it, I saw a recipe for the MWCs and some how I realized that I could make those, except make something totally different... Iranian Shotgun Wedding Cookies.

Rosewater, lentils, pistachios... that was what I had in my holster, and that is what I was gunna use. And those are most certainly components one finds in Persian dishes. The cookies couldn't well be called bastard cookies, as I fathered them my self with MWCs. I felt calling the quick arrangement of necessity between me n' MWCs could be called a shotgun marriage with some accuracy. They turned out pretty spectacular, and entirely addictive on the first batch. So unto the recipe...

Iranian Shotgun Wedding Cookies

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (the 1/2 c is for coating)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter substitute (I used earth balance sticks)
2 t pure vanilla extract (this can be swapped for rosewater, or you can use 1 t each)
1 1/2 t water
2 cups finely ground cardamom orange lentils*
1 cup corn starch
1 t salt
1 c finely chopped toasted pistachios (about 1 1/4 cup pistachios)

*I ground about 2 1/2 c lentils, with 1/2 t cardamom seeds, in a high power blender until obliterated. I used 2 cups, and put the rest aside for next batch.

Position racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 deg F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, silpats, or other item of choice.

Pour 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar for coating into a shallow bowl or plate and pour the granulated sugar into another shallow bowl or plate. Set them aside until you are ready to coat the dough.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer (if using the stand mixer, use the paddle attachment), cream together the butter sub and 2 cups powdered sugar for about 3 minutes or until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and/or rosewater, and water, and stir until just combined. Add the powdered lentils, cornstarch, and pistachios and stir for about 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Now here a light touch is needed. Grab small chunks of the mix, form loose balls. Do not compact the dough, just lightly press them between your palms to form walnut sized balls. Don't worry about them being smooth, you just want them to hold together. When you have made each ball, place it on a sheet and continue until you are out of cookie mix.

When all the balls have been formed, toss a couple into the granulated sugar and roll around until they are coated. Then toss into the powdered sugar and roll around until coated, then placing them on the cookie sheet about 1/2 an inch apart.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and just beginning to crack. When the cookies are done, place the pans on cooling racks and let them cool off. When they are completely cool, roll them around again in the powdered sugar and put them aside. Refill the powdered sugar as needed. Remember the are fragile, and store best on a plate rather than in a jar.

Enjoy, or hate me. They are way addictive and I make no claims of health in using lentils over flour.

Accch! So backlogged!

So many recipes I have done to blog about! As you can see from my flickr page, I make a lot more than I post about!

Ideally. before I run off to a Food Not Bombs meeting, I will post the Iranian Shotgun Wedding Cookies recipe!

In the meantime, I am working on a good vegan version of Smitten Kitchen's S'mores Pie. I can the dark chocolate and crust just fine, it is the marshmallow aspect I am having a hard time... I may just use ricemallow stuff, for aesthetics. Assuming I have some strong need to make such a thing. When I do, I will post the veganized recipe I have been using, with photos! For now I am too ashamed of the tasty but aesthetically imperfect product.

I am trying to clear out my fridge and pantry of all I have... or at least a lot of it. That should be fun. I am so not allowed to buy any new sugars (I already have cane sugar, jaggery, molasses, light and dark muscovado sugars, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup, maple sugar, and and and! Let us not even get into the flours, or my half dozen or so salts).

Right now Vegan Yum Yum's Smokey Miso Tofu is in my oven. I am digesting some
banana blended with black sesame tahini (the last of my cute lil' jar, yay!), some maca and raw cacao. I also finished off the red miso (I have at least 6 different misos in my fridge and counting) on the aforementioned tofu.

Seriously, I am going to have to inventory my kitchen at some point... all the items I have that so many people think there is just one kind of. IE Cocoa powder. Are you talking about my dutch processed? My powdered hershey's "I don't care that this product is socially irresponsible, I needed chocolate at 2 AM and only Shaws was open" chocolate? My schaffrenberger powdered baker's chocolate? My bulk Valrhona that I use for dusting ? The coarse grounded raw cacao beans? The raw cacao powder?

Oh maybe you were talking about salt? Do you want the coarse sea salt? The finely ground sea salt? The pink himalayan rocks, or the finely ground version? Oh no, you would want to use the black Hawaian salt flakes to press into your chocolates. Oh they are Mexican chocolates? Try the smokey mexican salt. Ah, try sprinkling this apricot sea salt unto your avocado.

ramble ramble ramble.

Time to check the tofu.

However, remember. Mary is not allowed to buy flour, salt, sugar, chocolate, or miso for a loooooong time.