Thu, 28 November, 2019
The second coming of Mokonuts rye cookies, this time studded with jewel-like bits of dried fruit and vibrant green pistachios.
I think I’m going to milk this wonderful recipe for what it’s worth. Who knew that you needed to add rye flour to your cookie dough for a game-changer? Anything rye sounds harsh, East European or Scandinavian, bringing visions of open herring sandwiches or thick slices smeared with pork lard. Nothing that you would want to extend onto cookies: cookies are rich, sweet, crispy and chewy.
And there’s the catch: chewiness is intrinsic to the Pumpernickels and deli ryes, so it’s actually a no-brainer that addition of rye flour will improve cookies’ texture into the right direction. How come we had to wait for Moko Hirayama, a Japanese American married to a Lebanese guy living in France to suss it out?
I think I might have just answered my question there.
I love fusions in cooking, whatever the cultural appropriation fighting brigade shout. Fusion is the only way out of cooking stuck in a rut and having the same dinner every Thursday for thirty years. Marrying flavours, juggling spices, borrowing a filling from one dish to stuff into the pastry case of another – that’s what excitement in cooking is all about.
These darlings have vibrant green pistachios in them, more of them than you’d think looking at the pictures. I call them ‘jewelled cookies’ because of the colourful mix of the dried fruit and pistachios but I must be brutally honest: all the gems hid within the cookies. It’s a pretty enough name though so I decided to leave it.
The process of making the dough is simple but you mustn’t skip the chilling stage when the cookies are shaped – it improves the texture. It’s very cruel to make anyone wait for cookies for 24 hours but it is fully worth it.
The second important point is the timing of the baking: unless your oven is nuclear powered or to the contrary, barely warm – stick to the ten minutes and not a second longer. Preheat your oven; don’t use fan/convection if there’s such option, and take the tray out promptly. The flattening is important too as that finishes cooking the cookies – so skip the smashing at your peril.
jewelled cookiesServings: makes 15-16 cookiesTime: 20 minutes plus chilling overnight and 10 minutes baking
- 130g (1 cup plus 1½ tbsp.) light rye flour
- 85g (½ cup plus 2 tbsp.) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 140g (10 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 100g (½ cup) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 50g (1/3 cup) raw pistachios, chopped
- 110g (4 oz.) mixed dried fruit: cherries, apricots and dates, chopped
1. Stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
2. In another bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter with the sugars for 3 minutes at medium-high speed, until creamy. Add the egg and beat for 2 more minutes.
3. Add the flour mix to the bowl and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in the chopped pistachios and the dried fruit. Chill the mix for about 30 minutes so they shape easier.
4. Shape the dough into balls about a golf ball/walnut size and place in a large plastic tub or on a tray. Cover with a lid or wrap in cling film and chill for at least 12 hours.
5. The next day preheat the oven to 220F/425F/gas 7. Line a large baking tray with parchment.
6. Place cookies on the tray straight from fridge, well-spaced apart (bake them in at least two batches). Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and flatten the cookies gently by patting them with a spatula or a palette knife. Leave them on the tray for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Let the baking tray cool down before you bake the next batch, with dough straight from the fridge again.
7. Serve when cooled to room temperature.