The very joyous Nowruz – Persian New Year, is almost here and in honour of that, a group of 14 lovely Persian bloggers and I got together for a recipe round-up celebrating this vernal equinox, which will take place on Thursday, March 20th. I am honoured to be a part of this group, thanks to my paternal grandmother. As this imminent holiday approaches, out come the fragrant, musky saffron threads, gorgeous green pistachios, sweet almonds and other delicious ingredients to prepare sweet treats for sharing with friends and family members.
I made noon berenj, which is made with rice flour, so it is a gluten-free treat. It is not traditionally made with saffron or rosewater, but I found that it paired beautifully with the rice flour. The jelly was another addition – a flavour from home here in Canada – Niagara Pepper Jelly, which is sweet, tangy and has a hint of spiciness. These are lovely with a milky tea or even a bone-dry Prosecco!
Wishing everyone a beautiful year ahead – and let’s hope that Spring comes soon, as we are all rather frozen here in Toronto.
Please do scroll down and click on the links of my fellow Persian bloggers’ Nowruz creations! A special thanks to you, Sanam joon, for organising this.
Ahu Eats: Norouz 2014 Recipe: Toot – Persian Mulberry Marzipan Candy
Café Leilee: Northern-Iranian Style Herb Stuffed Fish
Fig & Quince: A Norooz ‘a Palooza
Lucid Food: Persian Raisin and Saffron Cookies for Norooz
Simi’s Kitchen: New Blog for Nowruz
Spice Spoon: Noon Berenj – Thumbprint Rice Flour Cookies with Saffron & Rosewater for Persian Nowruz
West of Persia: Happy Nowruz, Recipe Roundup, and a Classic: Kuku Sabzi on TV
Zozo Baking: Nane Nokhodchi Nowruz Iran
*1 tsp heaped saffron threads, crushed in a pestle and mortar
*100g unsalted butter (softened, at room temperature)
*120g granulated sugar
*2 large eggs (bring to room temperature)
*250g white rice flour
*1 1/2 tsp rose water
*1/2 tsp baking powder
*1/2 tsp sea salt
*Red Pepper Jelly or any jam or jelly you prefer
*Crushed, unsalted pistachios
*Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil.
*Crush saffron threads into a powder form in a pestle and mortar. Transfer saffron powder to a small teacup. Add 2 tbsps warm water, stir and set aside.
*In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
*Add eggs one by one, till incorporated.
*Add rose water and the reserved saffron water.
*In batches, add rice flour, baking powder and sea salt. Mix gently, till incorporated into the mixture.
*At this point, place the cookie dough in the mixing bowl straight into the fridge for 20-30 minutes for the dough to chill. Cover the bowl with foil, plastic wrap or a plate.
*After the dough has rested in the fridge for the requisite amount of time, you will start to form the cookies.
*Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and place in the palm of your hand. Form into a ball and gently, press your thumb in the middle to form a well, flattening out the cookie at the same time.
*Place each cookie on your baking tray and when they are all lined up on the tray, bake for 10 minutes.
*Fill each “thumbprint” well of the cookie with your favourite jam or jelly and adorn with pistachio dust. Serve warm. If you want to take these to work, as I did – then add the jelly or jam into the well right before serving.