נאן ברנג'י. צילום: לי גיל
נאן ברנג'י. צילום: לי גיל
Recipe

Nan-e Berenji – Persian Rice Flour Cookies

Persian Jews prepare Nan-e Berenji to exact revenge on Haman for Purim - delicate rice flour cookies dotted with poppy seed to resemble fleas

The Persians also eat sweets on Rosh Hashanah: according to Persian folklore, King Jamshid discovered sugar on the eve of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The auspicious occasion is celebrated to this day by eating 7 types of sweets, among them Nan-e Berenji – delicate, pale cookies made with rice flour, and decorated with chopped pistachio, which probably originated in western Iran, near Kurdistan. The Jews of Iran adopted the cookies and included them in their Purim celebrations, which is also celebrated around the time of Nowruz. They replaced the chopped pistachio with poppy seeds, to more accurately depict the fleas we wish on evil Haman.

Ingredients for Persian Rice Flour Cookies

  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) butter room temperature
  • 1 cup less 2 tablespoons (100 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 5 drops rosewater
  • 2/3 cup (100 grams) rice flour
  • 1 cup less 3 tablespoons (80 grams) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) cornstarch
  • a little ground cardamom according to taste

To finish:

  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Instructions

  • 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and confectioner's sugar for about 2 minutes, until creamy and uniform. Add the egg, vanilla extract and rose water with the mixer working and continue mixing until you get a smooth and creamy mixture. From time to time, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  • 2. Mix the rice flour, almond flour, cornstarch and cardamom in a separate bowl.

  • 3. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and mix just until just uniform.

  • 4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  • 5. Heat the oven to 320F (160C) degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • 6. Form the dough into small balls weighing about ½ an ounce (15 grams) each and space them at intervals on the prepared sheet. Sprinkle a little poppy seed on each ball.

  • 7. Bake for 15 minutes, until the cookies are cooked through but retain their white color (you do not want a golden cookie here). Cool completely before carefully transferring to an airtight container.

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