Eight years ago while Anja was still living in Los Angeles, I invited her to celebrate our Persian New Years with my family. Along with fifty guests, we introduced her to our culture of celebrating the first day of spring with family, tradition, and of course food! Back then, I promised to give her my mother’s recipes for sweets prepared for the Persian New Year celebration. Finally, eight years later, here it is; better late than never.
May this spring bring forth in your lives all the blessings of a fresh start to health, love and celebration!
Happy Persian New Year!
Raisin Cookies (‘noon keskmeshi’)
100g butter-room temperature
3-4 tablespoons of small dark raisins (currents)
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon rose water (optional)
With an electric mixer whip well butter, sugar, vanilla and rosewater (if using) until a smooth texture is achieved. One by one add eggs until well blended. Finally add flour and mix for an additional minute. Fold in raisins and allow batter to rest for 15 minutes. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Using parchment paper to line a cookie sheet, spoon 1 teaspoon of mixture onto cookie sheet, spacing each individual spoonfuls so that once the cookie bakes, they don’t run into each other (approximately 2 inches apart each).Bake for 20-25 minutes until a light golden brown exterior is formed. Prepare the rest of the batch until complete.
Walnut Cookies (‘noon gerdooee’)
200g crushed walnuts
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoon sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Using an electric blender, mix egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until you achieve a whitish, smooth consistency. Fold in walnuts. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop ½ teaspoon of batter inches apart and bake for 20 minutes.
Rice Cookies (‘noon berengee’)
500g rice flour
½ tsp ground cardamom
90g powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon rosewater
1 egg (yolk and white separated)
Using an electric mixer blend butter, powdered sugar, cardamom, rosewater, and egg yolk until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until a thick white foam is achieved. Add egg whites to egg yolk mixture and fold in rice flower to form dough. Roll dough into a ball and wrap with plastic and store in fridge to rest for a minimum of two hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper; form one teaspoon of dough into a round ball and place on cookie sheet. Using a small spoon or thimble, gently apply pressure on top of the round dough in 2-3 areas to slightly flatten and decorate ball. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Finish patch and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until a light golden crust is formed.
Almond Cookies (‘hajee badoomee’)
1 cup almonds-finely ground in a food processor
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
Pistachio slivers to garnish
In a bowl, swift almond, flour, sugar and cardamom. Add butter and mix with hand until batter no longer sticks to fingers. Place dough in fridge for 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll into small sized balls ½ teaspoon of dough. Using a thimble, slightly flatten ball and decorate. Sprinkle with pistachio slivers and bake for 20 minutes.
Honey Candy (‘sohan asalee’)
150g of almond slivers
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoon oil
1 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoon of hot water
2 tablespoons of ground pistachios
In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt down sugar, honey and oil (do not stir too frequently as oil and sugar will separate). Once the sugar is caramelized add saffron, quickly stir to blend and then fold in almonds gently. Quickly remove from heat to not burn sugar and spoon onto aluminum foil and garnish ground pistachio to garnish. Allow candy to cool and break into bite size pieces.
Warning: handle caramelized sugar carefully as it will cause serious skin burns. Also, this candy is very sticky and does stick to dental restorations (personal experience, and I know better than that! Yes, even dentists are tempted with candy!!)