Thursday, December 26, 2013

Egipcios - Moroccan Shortbread Cookie with Dates

Growing up my brother Daniel and I went to my grandparents every Saturday for Shabbat lunch.  Mama (grandmother from my dads side) was an amazing baker, and had a lot of family recipes.  I am not sure how many of them got passed on to family.  I know my brother had a few of them that he shared but I couldn't find the Egipcios recipe on here.

Not to long ago, our cousin posted a picture of these cookies on Facebook.  So I absolutely asked for the recipe from my dads cousin. Rachel was my dads cousin than Dan always went to first when seeking out Moroccan family recipes.

Egipcios are cookies that are probably best described as a short bread cookie stuffed with dates.  The cookie is usually crumbly and not too sweet, but stuffed with a date mixture that adds just the right amount of sweetness.


Me, not being the baker, asked my mother'n'law if she could try to make these cookies for me.  Nancy is always up for a challenge in the kitchen, so she was quick to accept.  I just gave her an extra twist to my challenge because my wife has Celiac Disease, and I wanted this recipe to be gluten free so I could share the experience of one of my favourite childhood cookies with my wife.  This didn't phase Nancy and she went to work and didn't disappoint.  Within a week she had all the ingredients needed to make this happen.

Here is the family recipe, I hope you enjoy!  If you want to make it gluten free, just make sure the flour is a gluten free flour and that the baking powder is gluten free, because not all are.

EGIPCIOS

Ingredients:

Cookie Pastry:
½ PKG CRISCO
7 TBLP WATER
7 TBLP OIL
7 TBSP SUGAR
3 TSP BAKING POWDER
ABOUT 3 CUPS FLOUR
PARNOOSH DATES IN A CONTAINER PITTED

Date Mixture:
DATES USE ½ CONTAINER
IN FOOD PROCESSOR PUT IN DATES
½ TSP CLOVE
½ TSP NUTMEG
½ TSP CINAMON

Directions:

  1. Mix date mixture well.  Adjust spice ration to taste.
  2. Using oil on your palm, form sticks a bit shorter and thicker than the size of a crayon.
  3. Mix the dough and form the dough into halves (not to long)
  4. Take the dough and put the date in.  Put another dough around to close and form the egipcios
  5. Set oven to 300 degrees and bake until bottoms are lightly browned.
  6. Garnesh with confectionery sugar.
  7. Any leftover date mixture can be frozen.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Picky McPickerstein Black Bean Brownies

We are a family of foodies.   My  three year old happily eats any type of cuisine. I would even go as far to say he has a gourmand's palette, he recently rejected cheese whiz on a bagel in favour of some grilled salmon.  The nine month old is heading the same direction.  He refuses to eat all jarred baby food (as really he should - have you tasted that stuff?) and will only eat home made food. 

There is one exception to this house of gourmet children.

The nine year old.  He is the exact opposite, a Picky McPickerstein.  Herculean efforts have been made to try and get this child to deviate from his limited diet of plain pasta, cheese pizza, toast, and peas.  Okay, there are a few more items on the list but you get the idea.  To say it makes things challenging is an understatement. Not to mention the worry that he isn't getting enough nutrients. 

Various "hide the good stuff so they don't know they are eating it" recipes have been recommended, tried and ultimately failed to pass the picky eaters taste test. 

Until now....... 



He gobbles these up!  He actually just asked for the recipe so he could make them at school.  That's not going to happen - I need to keep the secret ingredient ...a secret.


Black Bean Brownies

1 19 fl oz  can of black beans (rinsed and drained)  
3 eggs
1/2 cup of cocoa
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional 

1/2 cup walnuts

I of course have to the leave the nuts out as Picky McPickerstein doesn't like nuts

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch x 8 inch pan
  2. Toss everything but the walnuts (if including them) into a food processor and puree - the key is the make sure all the black beans are ground up
  3. Mix in the walnuts if applicable
  4. Pour the batter in to the pan and bake for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean

Note: I like to toss a few more chocolate chips on top for decorative purposes and to keep up the guise this is a treat when really Picky McPickerstein is eating protein

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Not Your Usual Haggis Recipe

I'm going trying to write this blog Dan style with a good narrative for the recipe.

September 14th was a hard day.  It was Yom Kippur, day of fasting to feel hunger as a reminder to help others in need and to reflect upon the year that marked the end of the Jewish New Year.  It also marked the one year anniversary of my brother, Daniel's passing, so we had a lot more to reflect on.  I've been waiting for this day, I knew it was going to be hard, and it came by too quickly.  I wanted to do something special to commemorate Daniel, so I knew I was going to make haggis. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time already and I knew my brother would have loved it.

I decided to make the haggis on the 15th so I could focus on Yom Kippur and my reflection on the year.  All the memories of my brother, all the things I would have shared with him, and all the times that I miss him.  I woke up on September 15th ready to go.

I started the morning off by making my daughter and my wife a failed breakfast burrito that my wife saved by turning into a breakfast quesadilla.  What a sweetheart she is!  I over stuffed the burrito so it wouldn't fold.  So probably from all those times we watched the Food Network show "Chopped" together, shequickly thought "just slap another tortilla on top and call it a quesadilla".

I knew by 10am I wanted to get the haggis started.  I've written at my blog Gluten Free Edmonton in the past about a cookbook called "Make It Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea.  A gluten free slow cooker book that my wife Amanda and I love.  It happens to have a non-tradition haggis recipe that called for beef and lamb instead of the traditional heart, liver and lungs.  It was going to take 6-7 hours to cook.  Unfortunately I was behind schedule with my failed breakfast.  But that's okay, it meant I got to play with my daughter while Amanda saved breakfast.  

By 10:30, I got started,  and thankfully it was a pretty easy recipe.  Stephanie O'Dea describes haggis as a meatloaf.  She also describes it at the start as a blob.  Which it truly was.

I took out all the ingredients needed:

1/2 lbs beef
1/2 lbs lamb
1 chopped onion
1 cup certified gluten-free rolled oats (if you don't have Celiac Disease, you probably don't care about the certified gluten free part)
pinch of nutmeg, cloves (which I actually didn't have), and cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
cooking spray
1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth (once again, if you don't have Celiac Disease, you probably don't need to check the label for any additives).

Directions:
This recipe called for a 4 quart slow cooker.  We love slow cooking, so we actually have a large one and a smaller one.  You make the loaf by mixing in all the ingredients except for the cooking spray and broth.  Mix everything up really well.  Spray the inside of the slow cooker stoneware with the cooking spray.  Be sure to spray all of the inside to ensure the loaf doesn't stick (this was something I never thought of doing).  Mold your meat mixture and place into the slow cooker.  Add 1/2 cup of broth (I actually added a cup, because I think I had more meat than the recipe called for).  Cook on low for 6-7 hours until the ends are browned and the top begins to brown.  And I agree with Stephanie when she said "Don't overcook", you don't want a dense, hard and dry loaf.  Take out of the slow cooker carefully and let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting.

Before starting the recipe Amanda texted Meredith asking "What do you actually eat haggis with".  Her response "tatties", which she then went on to explain is "a very UK description of potatoes".  So Amanda made up some yummy season roasted potatoes with Italian seasonings and steamed carrots with honey and thyme.  I of course added some herring in a dish on the side to complete the haggis and herring loop.

The candle is lit to commemorate Daniel - A Jewish tradition to remember those that have passed on.
The aroma the mixture gave off while making the haggis was wonderful.  I was really looking forward to trying this.  After putting everything into the slow cooker my daughter (14 months), Amanda and I all took off to run errands for the day.  When we came back to the house everything smelled so great.  I was really anxious to eat this meal.

When the time was up, Amanda carefully took out the loaf for me while I played more with my daughter (she loves Lego and Cars, go figure if you knew my brother and I).  My in laws came over to join us for this commemorative dinner.  I did enjoy the haggis.  I've written about meat loafs before on my blog, and they always seem to end up pretty dense and dry.  I think the oats really helped make the loaf more fluffy and edible. The sides Amanda put together went great with haggis.  The seasoned potatoes and the sweetness of the carrots really made this a nice meal.  And the herring on the table, although not cohesive, was just quite fitting. Everything allowed me to feel good about what we put together to remember my brother.  I can comfortably say, I look forward to making this every year.

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen

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