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Ethnic cookies?

I'm looking for ideas or recipes for ethnic cookies...I have no particular ethnic groups I'm most interested in, and I am very flexible on the definition of cookies... so far I've made rugalech, alfajores, pasteis de nata... and am looking to continue this project.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. How about korambiethes, Greek cookies. I love them, actually I love all Greek desserts. & here
    Melomakarona; Honey & spice Chirstmas cookies...
    http://greekfood.about.com/od/dessert...
    I'm going to make these so thanks!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rory

      That's a different spelling. My mom's best friend growing up was Greek so she had them at Christmas but when she gave me the recipe she called them kourabiedes.

      Here's another nice Greek cookie she said Maria's mom made. They're still my sister's favorite.

      Sesame Seed Cookies

      5 1/2 c. flour
      1 tbsp. baking powder
      1 c. margarine
      1 c. sugar
      4 eggs
      1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
      1 tbsp. water
      Sesame seed

      Cream oleo, sugar, 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks (reserve whites) and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.
      Shape a heaping teaspoon of dough into a 6” rope; fold in half and twist together. Beat reserved egg whites with water. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, brush with egg white mixture, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are firm.

      1. re: revsharkie

        I use almost the same recipe except mine calls for lard. And they are delicious!!

    2. I made korambiethes and they are delicious and powdered sugar is great. My godmother brought me some barazeh; delicious honey and sesame flaky cookie. She learned to make them on a trip to the Holy Land. They freeze great and are so good. So easy to make; hers were a very light golden colour. Here is a link below.
      http://www.mediterranean-food.net/ind...

      11 Replies
      1. re: itryalot

        I love baraze! My recipe is a little different though (I can write the whole thing up when I get home, if anyone wants it). I include mahleb in the dough, and before baking, I brush the dough circles with a honey/water mixture, then dip into a combination of sesame seeds and crushed pistachios. They're a very unique tasting cookie.

        1. re: pamalamb

          I wonder about mahleb. Is it the crushed whole pit, or the little almondy piece inside the pit, crushed? Thanks.

          1. re: Louise

            It's just the kernel. The store I buy it from, though, grinds it for me, since it's pretty hard. It's one of my favorite spices.

          2. re: pamalamb

            Pamalamb, if you're still reading, would you mind posting your recipe for Baraze? I'm going to make these next week... also if anyone can tell me how to pronounce it, that would be great :)

            I'll post back with results.

            1. re: Adrienne

              I've been pronouncing it bar-ah-ZEE, but I have no idea if that's right. I'll post the recipe when I get home tonight.

              1. re: Adrienne

                3 cups flour
                1 cup sugar
                1 Tbsp mahleb
                2 Tbsp baking powder
                1 cup butter, clarified
                1/4 cup lukewarm water

                5 Tbsp honey
                3 Tbsp water
                sesame seeds
                pistachios, crushed

                Combine flour, sugar, mahleb, baking powder, butter and 1/4 cup water. Knead until dough is fairly firm. Shape into walnut size balls and flatten each into a disk.

                Combine honey and water to form a syrup (warm water helps); you don't need to be exact on the ratio, either. In a shallow and wide dish, combine sesame seeds and crushed pistachios (you can vary amounts, but I go about half and half). Brush each disk with the syrup, then dip the syrup-side into the seeds/nuts. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

                Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.

                1. re: pamalamb

                  Ok, so I tried something between your version and the other version that was posted, and the result was very tasty sugar cookies with a total nonsequitor of sesame seeds on one side. What am I doing wrong?

                  1. re: Adrienne

                    In my recipe, about 75% of the flavor comes from the mahleb... so if you're leaving that out, I can see that it's lacking flavor. But then, I'm not sure exactly how traditional my version is.

                  2. re: pamalamb

                    wow, I am so excited to see a recipie that includes mahleb! I only put it in my choreg so I am excited to try this recipie! thanks

                    1. re: geminigirl

                      Would you mind sharing your choreg recipe? My mother never put mahleb in hers, but I prefer mahleb, so I have no good recipe.

                      1. re: pamalamb

                        is your mom's recipie a good dough? if so I would use that and just add some ground mahleb, I think I usually use abt 2-3 tsp but I'm not good at measuring. If anything I err on the side of too much because I don't think it is an overpowering flavor, and since mahleb is very hard for me to find, it usually ends up sitting in my fridge/freezer for quite a while so i'm sure the flavor has dulled a bit. let me know if you still want the recipie.

                        btw, do you use mahleb in anything else? I just added it to a batch of dinner rolls I recently made and i thought it was really nice, my husband didn't care for it but I have to ask an armenian for another opinion, anyway I frooze them so more for me! I love choreg but it is a labor intensive process, now that I realized I can add then to any bread I make (duh) i'm so excited!

            2. Mun cookies (poppyseed cookies) and mandel brot (aka mandel bread - the Jewish equivalent of almond biscotti). Recipes for both here:

              http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

              The mun cookies I know are rolled out and cut, though the picture of this variation does look good too. If you're interested I can dig up my grandmother's mun-cookie recipe.

                1. What about Fattigmands Bakkelser? My Norwegian grandmother used to make these at Christmastime, and we all loved them! I tried making them once at the request of my brother one Christmas - and I will never, ever, EVER make them again. :-) Kudos to my Grandmother for knowing just when the oil was hot enough to fry and when to take them out of the oil so they didn't burn. :-)

                  I don't have Grandmother's recipe handy, but this looks very similar: http://www.stairway.org/tickle/recipe...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Wow... that sounds both delicious and unique... can you give me any clue on how to pronounce it?

                    1. re: Adrienne

                      Grandmother always pronounced them "FAH-ty-mahns" - the "g" is silent. I believe "Fattigmand" is Norwegian for "Fat Man". The other word (which she rarely used when she was talking about these cookies) is pronounced "BAH-kel-ser".

                      Here's a picture of how they're supposed to look:

                      http://www.thelefsehouse.ca/images/fa...

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Actually "Fattigmann" means "Poor Man" (but I don't know why they are called that...)

                        1. re: sue zookie

                          Oops! You're right Sue. Not sure where I got the notion of "Fat Man". Did a quick Google, and found this blog from earlier this year. It looks like this woman had the same decision as me after making them once - never again! LOL

                          http://tildology.com/category/scandin...

                  2. here's a post I made last year. hope this thread goes farther!

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/343214

                    1. There's a PBS cooking show, Ciao Italia with Maryanne Esposito. Here's a link to her many cookie recipes. This is just A-C. At the bottom of the page there's a link to the next page.
                      http://www.ciaoitalia.com/rc_category...

                      I found this recipe at epicurious.com and I was going to make it recently, but never got around to it. It looks good:

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      1. This is my grandmother's recipe for Hungarian Delights (Ischl cookies). They're a pecan cookie with raspberry jam and chocolate. Always been my favorite.

                        Hungarian Delights

                        3/4 cup butter
                        3/4 cup sugar
                        1 tsp. vanilla
                        1 tsp. lemon juice
                        1 1/2 cups sifted flour
                        1/2 cup pecan flour
                        red raspberry jam
                        semi-sweet chocolate chips
                        40 blanched almonds

                        Combine first 6 ingredients and knead into smooth dough. Sprinkle extra pecan flour on a board and roll out dough to 1/4" thick. Cut in 1 1/2" rounds (should make 80). Bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Cool, then spread half of the cookies with the jam. Top with plain cookies to make sandwiches. Melt chocolate with a few drops of oil in the microwave. Spread a bit on the top of each sandwich cookie and top with an almond.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: dinner belle

                          Pecan flour! Is that something I buy at the store, or do I just send pecans through my grinder? I'm happy to do either, these (as all the above suggestions) sound lovely... keep 'em comin'! :)

                          p.s. great handle, d.b.

                          1. re: Adrienne

                            Pecan flour is just finely ground pecans. It's not too hard to find here in Georgia, but I don't know about elsewhere. I usually get mine at the farmers' market. If you grind your own, just add a little flour if it gets too moist or gummy. As far as butterfly's question about pecans in Hungary, I have no idea and my grandmother isn't around anymore for me to ask her. Did just look in one of her cookbooks though, and a similar cookie does call for hazelnuts. Either way, they're gonna be good.

                            1. re: Adrienne

                              Just noticed a bag of Trader Joe's almond meal in my freezer (God only knows what else is lurking in there!) -- maybe they have pecan meal/flour, too.

                              P. S. Thanks!

                            2. re: dinner belle

                              Do they have pecans in Hungary? I ask because I live in Europe and was under the impression that pecans were strictly new world... I always have people bring them for me when they visit, but I if could find a Euro source that would be great... Or maybe the pecans in this recipe are a substitute for hazelnuts, walnuts, or some other more euro-nut...

                              P.S. Not that there's anything wrong with that--I love pecans!

                              1. re: butterfly

                                I lived in Hungary for a year and never saw pecans once - although I think they'd be delicious in this recipe!

                                What Hungary does have a lot of is walnuts, locally grown and excellent quality, as well as hazelnuts and almonds (which might have been imported). Hungarians use walnuts both in pastries and also in savoury dishes - like cold cucumber soup with dill, garlic and ground walnuts, one of my favourite Central European dishes.

                                1. re: plum

                                  Plum--thanks for the info. We have great walnuts here (Spain) as well. I would love to get that cold cucumber soup recipe from you... Would you mind posting it in Home Cooking?

                            3. The day I moved into my house one of the church ladies showed up with a bag of kringla. I don't know that I have a recipe, but no doubt someone does. They're pretty common around here--sort of soft, breadlike cookies, not too sweet, twisted similar to my mom's sesame seed cookies, but much bigger.

                              1. Wasabi and ginger cookie.

                                Use a basic sugar cookie recipe and add equal parts wasabi powder and ground ginger.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Sounds yum! How much do you use for your x number of cookies yielding recipe?

                                2. Egyptian kahk might be an exotic try. Instead of donuts, the Arabic-version of Homer Simpson is addicted to these tasty bites of yum.

                                  Of course there's also Madeleines and macarons. They're perhaps more mainstream than before, but they're still very French cookies.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    Madeleines and macrons count! I've never heard of kahk... about to do some research though :) Thanks!

                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                      Kahk are an ancient Arab cookie made with gads of butter or ghee and filled with nuts, sesame, honey or dates. Eat one and you're eating a confection that even Saladin would have eaten to celebrate Eid and a treat that is heavily associated with festivity in Arab gastronomy. How often can you make something so historic and so tasy?

                                  2. Springerle cookies are anise flavoured and rolled to imprint with a special rolling pin. My grandmother always made them at Christmas. I think they are German, but our family is such a mixed bag, I'm not sure. I love them, because they are unusually falvoued and textured, and they remind me of her.....

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: WCchopper

                                      My mom still makes springerle cookies every year. When I was a kid, I used to love rolling them out with the cool rolling pin and then cutting them into rectangles. They are so nice and subtle--great with tea.

                                      To make them, she uses hartshorn baking ammonia (and swears baking soda just doesn't work the same)... my mom always got it from the pharmacy but now that Walgreens has taken over the world, she can't find it. Anyone know where to get it?

                                      1. re: butterfly

                                        Didn't I see that in the King Arthur catalog? Can you describe the texture of your cookies? I'm wondering what the difference is.

                                        1. re: WCchopper

                                          They are crunchy on the outside soft and "pillowy" in the middle (not too dry, not too moist; but still with some weight to to them...). Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to try to buy some online and have it sent to her. If not, I'll try the pharmacy here (in Spain). It's crazy because up until five years ago she could get it at any local drug store (she's not german, but lives in a community with a LOT of german-americans). I fear the people who know how to make these cookies must be dying out... A lot of her recipes for german and scandanavian cookies (which she picked up from neighbors and local sorts of cookbooks) call for hartshorn.

                                        2. re: butterfly

                                          Perhaps a baking supply store - or King Arthur Flour's catalog? Maybe give them a call - they might know where to find it.

                                          Googling came up with this 2003 article that has a couple of places in Wisconsin http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi... that sell it: "Salt of hartshorn (baking ammonia) can be purchased at Laabs Drug Store, 911 N. 27th St., and at Cook's Cake Decorating & Candy Supplies, 7321 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis. Staff at the drug store said it should be purchased just prior to baking as it has a short shelf life."

                                          and The Great American Spice Company online seems to sell it: http://www.americanspice.com/catalog/...

                                          ETA that I realize the GASCompany <g> lists it as out of stock, but perhaps they can get it for you?

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I'm late to the conversation here, but I get my hartshorn, along with spingerle molds and pins and other goods, at House on the Hill. http://www.houseonthehill.net/

                                      2. There's also this thread for listing of interesting and unusual cookies:

                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/346583

                                        1. Rugalach and mandel bread are the only ones I've had, but I see you already tried rugalach! Did you like it?

                                          I'll let you know if I come across anything else.

                                          Hillary
                                          http://chewonthatblog.com

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chew on That

                                            I'm Russian Jewish, so it was *making* the rugelach (and not eating them) that was the adventure. It wasn't that bad, it's just like making puff pastry with about half cream cheese instead of butter... and then chilling it and rolling it out was kindof a pain but the results were WELL worth it... and I was able to introduce a lot of people to something new for them -- I'm a med student in Louisiana... a lot of my classmates come from places without very many immigrants, which is part of what's inspired this project.

                                          2. there is a fantastic book by Rose Levy Beranbaum called "Rose's Christmas Cookies", and she has wonderful recipes from a mix of places. The photography is great as well. I would look for the book on line, as it can be hard to find.
                                            fayefood.com

                                            1. Living in Texas, I have acess to Mexican panaderias. I love to eat the marranitos (little pigs). They are big pig-shaped ginger cookies. Great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
                                              http://www.recipezaar.com/192410

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Honey Bee

                                                I was going to suggest these too! I try to have one whenever I go home to South Texas. They remind me so much of childhood.

                                                Also, don't forget pan de polvo! The little sandy cookies that are just delicious.

                                              2. I love Chinese Almond cookies I don't have a recipe but if made fresh great with Jasmine or Green tea!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Shaylala

                                                  Maybe the first cookie I can remember helping to make was a home version of Chinese almond cookies. They're pretty much a butter cookie, very short, rolled into a ball, then dotted carefully with a cotton swab dipped in red food coloring. The dotting was always the fun part, and what most very young kids learned to do as their part of the baking.

                                                2. OMG I cannot believe I just found this thread! Since I'm a cookie freak at the holidays and always try to have an international variety on my cookie trays, a few months ago I started a blog called "A Cookie for Every Country" where I am attempting (and I say that with trepidation) to document at least one cookie for every country. I've got about 30 posted and a bunch more just waiting for me to write them up. Please visit at http://globalcookies.blogspot.com. And please let me know if you have suggestions, information, or recipes. I will be happy to link it to your blog or website and will give you full credit for the recipe.

                                                  I've got many of the cookies you guys have already mentioned posted as well as Khatai cookies from Afghanistan, Anzac biscuits from Australia, Nanaimo bars from Canada (can you tell I was trying to go alphabetically?), Daktyla from Cyprus, Suussulavad Kaerakupsised from Estonia, and many, many more.

                                                  But again, I'm really looking for suggestions! You can also email me at globalcookies@gmail.com.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: lrohner

                                                    Wow, apparently we think the same way, lrohner!

                                                    I want to ask you about the Barazeh, the cookie I tried to make unsucessfully as above. Did you find them to taste much different from sugar cookies? I have only this week located mahleb that was recommended to me above, so I'm going to try with that too... but I'm trying to understand how they *should* taste. I will definitely be following along with your recipes... and if you have any countries for which you haven't found recipes let me know 'cause I'm on a similar hunt :)

                                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                                      Any countries where I didn't find anything? HAR!!! Let's start with the A's: I'm stuck on Andorra, Angola and Antigua/Barbuda, For the B's, I'm stuck on Bahamas, Bharain, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma and Burundi. I won't even START on the C's! This is REALLY a challenge cuz when I say "every country", I mean "every country"!

                                                      I've recently enlisted the aid of a librarian at the New York Public Library who is into baking. The problem she's finding is that most of the cookbooks from these smaller countries (if they even exist) are not in English. Sheeeeesh!

                                                      As for the Bazareh, yes -- it does taste like a butter or sugar cookie. The mahleb should make a distinct difference. It's a spice that comes from black cherries (yum yum) which should give the cookie a very unique flavor. Many countries use cardamom in what otherwise would be sugar cookies, etc.

                                                      I've learned a few things from this whole endeavor not the least of which is that most countries have at least one version of a simple butter or sugar cookie. Another big learning is that what one country might consider a very traditional cookie is really just a cookie from another country with one or two ingredients changed (or the cooking method) to more local fare, as is the case with the Bazareh. Kifli from Hungary is another good example. It's really a spin-off of the Jewish Rugelach (or vice versa -- I'm not sure).

                                                      Like right now I'm going nuts with Languos de Gato (Cat's Tongue). Spain claims it as its own, but it really has its origins in French ladyfingers. And BTW, the Phillipines claim "Langue de Gato" cookies as their own. Shoot! My head is spinning!

                                                      And then there's Kue Semprong from Indonesia which is almost the same as (I can't remember the name) from Malaysia which is almost the same as Gaufrettes from France which is almost the same as Pizzelles from Italy.

                                                      Anyhoo, I think I've undertaken a huge task here. I would love to have a blog partner who's as interested in this as I am. Will give full credits and am willing to split (what little) AdSense $$$ pop up. It's in the pennies right now but am more than happy to split it since I'm not really in it for the money.

                                                      If you're interested, email me at globalcookies@gmail.com. If you're not, let's keep in touch through this thread and my blog!

                                                      1. re: lrohner

                                                        Just a correction: it's "lenguas de gato" in Spanish. Some other great Spanish cookies are mantecados, polvorones, coscorrones, yemas (de Santa Teresa), pastas (de almendra or limón, among others)... Lots of convents still make cookies.

                                                        1. re: butterfly

                                                          Thank! Do you have any of the recipes that we can post?