Some of my favorite anecdotes and my favorite recipes come from time spent abroad. I love traveling, and Ryan and I are very content with living as frugally as possible so that we can travel the world together. I have taken some amazing trips, and I look forward to recounting various stories and bringing certain recipes to this blog.
The food in Jordan was incredible. Strong and spicy, cumin dusted almost every dish. The hummus was rich, creamy and far better than any store-bought brand here. We ate tabbouleh, flavored with fresh lemon and a verdant dose of parsley. And then of course, the bread. Pita bread pulled straight from the oven, still warm to the touch, and as ubiquitous as sandwich bread in the States.
But what I loved the most were the desserts. Dates and figs are prominent, freshly squeezed juices are served at most meals, and cinnamon and pistachios play starring roles in a variety of sweets. When I found a bag of pistachios in my pantry, I wanted to try to replicate some of the desserts I ate overseas.
Honey and Pistachio Stuffed Cookies
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 tsp pure orange extract (you can find this near the vanilla)
8 TBSP ice water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup dried, pitted dates
1/2 cup apricots
1/2 cup raisins
A pinch of cinnamon
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1. Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until mealy. (Use a fork, food processor or a pastry cutter). Pour the orange extract over the mixture and continue to process. Add one tablespoon of ice water at a time until a stiff dough begins to form. Remove dough from bowl and knead for a few minutes. Transfer to a zip loc bag and let chill in the refrigerator while preparing filling.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, dates, apricots, raisins, cinnamon, honey and lemon juice. Heat for 5 minutes or until dried fruit is softened. Allow to cool before transferring to a food processor. Process the fruit mixture until coarsely ground. Add the nuts and process a few more times.
3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Place dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Take a 2 inch circle cookie cutter and cut out round discs. Fill with a dollop of fruit filling and pinch to close.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or until dough is just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on a wire rack.
6. Enjoy with a cup of Turkish coffee (if you can find some!)