Kleicha Date and Cardamom Cookies
- 1/2 cup water, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, no white bitter pith
- Zest of 1 orange, no white bitter pith
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but cooled, cannot be warm
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds or fennel seeds, optional
- 3 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
- *Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, yeast, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Add flour and all remaining dough ingredients excluding nigella seeds.
- Mix using dough hook or by hand until an elastic dough is obtained. About 5 minutes mixing on medium speed or 5-7 minutes by hand. Near very end of mixing add nigella seeds.
- Dough will work easier if allowed to rest in refrigerator until next day. However, if needed, proceed after 45 minutes resting of dough at room temperature covered with plastic food film.
- Place dates, orange juice, and oil/butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once mixture is warm, using a potato masher or fork, smash dates into a puree. Consistency should be like peanut butter. Set aside covered.
- Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll dough into a 10-inch wide and 15-inch-long rectangle.
- Spread half of date mixture evenly on surface of dough.
- Starting on bottom of 15-inch-long side, roll dough into a log.
- Using a sharp knife, cut in 1-inch pieces and place on parchment lined or buttered cookie sheets.
- Repeat with remaining dough and date paste.
- Cover loosely with plastic food wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until cookies have gained 25% in volume. Turn oven to 350°F.
- Brush surface of cookies lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with a few additional nigella seeds.
- Place cookies in oven and bake until light golden, about 17-20 minutes.