These delicate little cookies melt in your mouth. I love the crumbly texture due to the semolina flour and how three-quarters of this cookie is moist and soft from the aromatic syrup, yet, the top is still slightly crisp. If you’ve ever tried Ravani (I have 2 recipes) these are the cookie version of that wonderful cake. If you choose to add some mastic gum, also known as mastiha, in Greek, they will taste just like the aromatic Samali cake. Make these delights for tea time or for a cookie exchange and share the joy!
- 5 ounces (140 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (130 grams) confectioner’s sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- The Dry Ingredients:
- 2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 grams) finely ground semolina flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 24-30 whole almonds
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon
- Hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios
- Orange blossom water (1 tablespoon)
- Rosewater (1 tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon ground mastic gum
- Lemon or orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
- Prepare the almonds by soaking them in a bowl of water overnight. In the morning, the skin will just pop off when you squeeze them out of it. Discard the skin.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- Place the butter and the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Beat until fluffy.
- Add the eggs and the extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat until thick and incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed. Add them in 2-3 batches and stop mixing once the dough is formed and all of the flour is incorporated. Overmixing will produce tough cookies.
- Note: The dough might appear a bit sticky. Do not add more flour. Once it rests for a minute, it will be easy to work with.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and form little walnut-sized balls. It is easy to do this with a mini ice cream scoop.
- Place the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press the tops of the cookies down to slightly flatten.
- Place an almond into the center of each cookie.
- Bake them in the center rack for about 25 minutes or until they’re golden.
- Make the syrup: Combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Mix together and set aside. The syrup should stay warm.
- As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, pour the warm syrup over them and let them absorb as much of the syrup as possible. Set them at room temperature for an hour.
- Place the cookies on a serving tray.
- You may gather the syrup into another container and serve alongside the cookies or discard it.
- Serve with tea or coffee. Enjoy!