Friday, March 22, 2013

TWABAA OR ALGERIAN LEMON AND OLIVE OIL COOKIES FOR GREAT BRITISH CHEFS - TWABAA OU BISCUITS ALGÉRIENS À L'HUILE D'OLIVE ET AU CITRON

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As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies.
- "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006)
Cookies (or biscuits, as they are commonly named in Great Britain) are comforting and versatile little baked gems that enlighten our day and offer us a unique gustatory experience. Because it comes in all shapes, colors, consistencies, flavors and degrees of refinement, this extraordinary pastry is the ultimate snack food for adults and children alike, one of the best gift items one can offer (when homemade or artisanally produced, of course) and a quintessential part of any teatime, coffee break or celebration.

Their universal popularity is undeniable and it is rare to find somebody who dislikes these flat, round, crispy and bite-sized cakes as they are incredibly appealing and virtually designed to please everyone. It makes perfect sense when you know that countless varieties are available around the world and that each country has its own word for this speciality (Kaak in Lebanon, Plätzchen or Keks in Germany, småkake in Norway, Galletas in Spain, Biscotti in Italy, Kurabiye in Turkey, Koekje in the Netherlands, etc...) as well as its own range of sweet or savory confections.
 
But, are you aware of their origins and the way they arrived in our latitudes? Well, cookies, as we acknowledge them nowadays*, saw the light of day in 7th century Persia (one of the first lands, after Bengal, to cultivate cane sugar and to use it as a common staple), were first brought to Medieval (14th century) Europe by the Muslim invaders and later to the Eastern Mediterranean and then to Northern Europe via the spice trade and the Crusaders who brought with them the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia. An extremely passionating topic as, once again, we realise how much our Western civilization owes to the East...

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Having been precursors in this area, it is no wonder that the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa (mainly Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt) produce some of the most pretty, tempting, exquisite and elegant cookies I have ever had the opportunity to savor. I am totally addicted to them as every bite you take puts you in a sensual trance and literally sends you to the heavens above.

After years of buying those ambrosial delicacies from gourmet stores, I have finally gathered enough courage to tackle the art of Arabic cookie-making at home and, until today, the results have been very encouraging, thus my Oriental baking repertoire is slowly, yet considerably widening.

This naturally leads me to speak about my recent culinary discovery: "Twabaa", a traditional Algerian cookie which reminds me a bit of "Pains d'Anis (Anise Biscuits)" from the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland (a childhood favorite of mine) and which has completely stolen my heart. With its exhaliratingly citrusy aromas, luxurious olive oil fragrance, homely looks, delightfully crispy exterior and pleasantly dry texture it is impossible to resist this luscious treat. As a matter of fact, these "Algerian Lemon And Olive Oil Cookies" taste so good that you'll keep coming for more! 

* The sweet and rich ones, not the hard and dry wafer-like ones which existed before the second half of Middle Ages and which we now call crackers.

I am overjoyed and extremely thrilled to announce, I have been asked to write for Great British Chefs. It is a real honor for the proud half-British girl that I am to be a part of their team of collaborators!

You can find my recipe and article here, and if you have never heard of this lovely site, I highly encourage you to head over to Great British Chefs as the visit is definitely worthwhile!

Algerian Lemon And Olive Oil Cookies
Recipe freely adapted from "Recettes Gourmandes" and "Taste Of Beirut".

Makes about 30 cookies.

Ingredients:
3 Large eggs (~ 63g each)
1/2 Cup (105ml) Light olive oil
1 Cup (210g) Castor sugar
Zest of one organic lemon
1 1/2 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cups (320g) Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
A pinch of fine sea salt
1 Egg, beaten, for glazing

Extra castor sugar, for sprinkling

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (using the whisk attachment), beat together the eggs and sugar for a few minutes or until thick, frothy and pale in color.
4. While beating, gradually add the oil, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
5. With the help of a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until combined.


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6. Using a tablespoon, scoop up the dough (making sure each scoop weighs exactly 20g/0.7oz). Then, lightly wet your hands and form even-sized balls of dough.
7. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and poke in the middle with the handle of a wooden spoon (humidify it regularly so that it desn't stick to the dough) to form a hole that is about 1 1/2 cm/0.6in wide.
8. Brush the top of each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the extra sugar.
9. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden.
10 Let cool on a wire rack.

Remarks:
You can replace the lemon zest with the zest of one organic orange and the vanilla extract with the same quantity of orange blossom water.
The cookies
can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with a cup of tea or coffee.


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Biscuits Algériens À l'Huile d'Olive Et Au Citron
Recette librement adaptée de
"Recettes Gourmandes" et de "Taste Of Beirut".

Pour environ 30 biscuits.

Ingrédients Pour Les "Biscuits":
3 Gros oeufs (~ 63g chacun)

105ml d'Huile d'olive légère
210g de Sucre cristallisé
Le zeste d'un citron bio
1 1/2 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure

320g de Farine blanche
1 CC de Poudre à pâte/lever
Une pincée de sel de mer fin
1 Oeuf, battu (pour le glaçage)
Sucre cristallisé (pour saupoudrer)


Méthode:
1. Préchauffer le four à 180 ° C.
2. Dans un bol moyen, mélanger ensemble la farine, le sel et la poudre à lever. Mettre de côté.
3. Dans le bol d'un batteur sur socle (en utilisant le fouet), battre ensemble les oeufs et le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange ait une couleur pâle et une consistance épaisse ainsi que mousseuse.
4. Tout en continuant de battre le mélange, ajouter graduellement l'huile, le zeste de citron et l'extrait de vanille.
5. A l'aide d'une spatule, incorporer les ingrédients secs au mélange d'oeufs jusqu'à obtention d'une consistance homogène.


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6. En utilisant une cuillère à soupe, prélever des morceaux de pâte faisant exactement le même poids (20g). Ensuite, mouiller légèrement vos mains et former des boules.
7. Placer les boules de pâte sur une plaque à pâtisserie recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Enfoncer au milieu de chaque boule l
e manche d'une cuillère en bois au préalable humidifié (pour qu'il ne colle pas) et tourner pour agrandir le trou (environ 1 1/2 cm de diamètre).
8. Badigeonner le dessus de chaque biscuit avec l'œuf battu et saupoudrer avec le sucre.
9. Cuire au four pendant 15 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que les biscuits soient légèrement dorés.
10 Laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Remarques:
Le zeste de citron peut être remplacé par le zeste d'une orange bio et l'extrait de vanille par la même quantité d'eau de fleur d'oranger.
Conserver les biscuits dans une boîte hermétique, pendant pas plus d'une semaine.

Suggestions d'accompagnement:
Servir avec une tasse de thé ou de café.


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90 comments:

  1. Tes photos sont tellement magnifiques que je n'ai même pas à les concocter pour sentir le parfum de ces superbes biscuits!

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  2. Hi Rosa,
    This recipe is amazing and the biscuits look stunning and delicious. I'm taking the recipe with me as I adore lemony flavours.
    Congratulations for the invitation as you are a fantastic writer and photographer and you really deserve it!!
    Cheers,
    Lia.

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  3. how....amazing! what camera do youu use?!

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  4. EM: Thanks! I use a NIKON D40... ;-)

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  5. Rosa your Algerian biscuits look so beautiful, and I love the history you write of the humble cookie. Congratulations on the writing gig too!

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  6. For a cookie lover and maker as me, your post is a gem. I forgot cookie long history. They are so simple and somehow magical.
    I want to try your recipe.

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  7. Congrats Rosa! And welcome to the Great British Chefs blogger team!
    Your cookies do look tasty! x

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  8. Oh Rosa, I am drooling here. Spell bound with ur clicks and loved them all.

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  9. They look so good..you can almost taste them..wonder if my poked holes would be as perfect:)

    Congratulations Rosa!

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  10. je guettais la recette parce que tes photos...hummmmm! je la mets dans mes recettes à tester parce qu'ils sont vraiment craquants.

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  11. Que tes photos me donnent envie de me lancer ! Cette petite gourmandise me plairait bien, je le pense ^^
    Des bisous **

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  12. As always you have the way to make even a humble cookie look amazing Rosa.

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  13. Wow congrats Rosa, so glad you've joined the group of Great British Chefs, you are such a great cook, baker and photographer. Have a great weekend. Bises xx
    Mamatkamal

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  14. i wish you had a picture of the insides of these--i'm curious about their texture! regardless, they're unique and undoubtedly delicious. :)

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  15. Lovely cookies! Congrats on your new gig too! :)

    xo
    H

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  16. Oh les gâteaux de mon enfance!! Je suis heureuse de les trouver chez toi et si bien mis en valeur...

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  17. You said it - these are gems and I love that they're made using olive oil.
    Sam

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  18. Thank goodness for Persia. What would the world be like without cookies. These ares such a fun shape. Congrats - off to check out the article.

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  19. It looks so delicious. And, the cracks on cookies telling me that they are crumbly as well.

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  20. Love that it's made with olive oil. And congrats on the writing opportunity! You'd do fabulous, without a doubt!

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  21. Congratulations, Rosa!!!!
    These cookies look fabulous.

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  22. Congrats Rosa - Wish you all the best!!
    These cookie look fabulous and so do the photos :) As always enjoyed this post a lot!

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  23. Congratulations! These look really incredible, I've never seen anything quite like it.

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  24. Congrats!
    They look absolutely DELICIOUS!

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  25. Congrats Rosa! And these cookies (kurabiyes) are divine! I love that it's made with olive oil, I love its flavor in cookies. Thanks for the recipe!

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  26. Ils sont beaux Rosa et donnent envie de croquer dedans ! bon weekend et bises

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  27. Congratulations on your new job! Love these biscuits, olive oil and lemon are a perfect match!

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  28. Congrats on being asked to write for Great British Chefs! What an honor! Richly deserved, too. Super nice cookie - I've had something similar, but only once or twice. Great looking recipe (and the cookie is so pretty, too!). Good stuff - thanks.

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  29. I recognize this picture from the black & white Wednesday. I have no idea how come that your cookies (donuts?)look so perfect.

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  30. Lemon and olive oil are wonderful together in sweets.

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  31. Definitely going to try making these when I get back from visiting Mither!

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  32. Congratulations! The biscuits look yummylicious!

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  33. your citrus/olive oil cookies are worth, to be post-baked. I hope, the required amount of sugar can be reduced.
    Liebe Grüsse

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  34. These look very delicious. I'd like to pop them in my mouth. :-)

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  35. Congratulations Rosa. They are very lucky to have you on their team. The cookies look delicious.

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  36. Loving the cookies - simple and sweet - exactly how I love them. Perfect for tea. Congrats on the collaboration. They are indeed lucky to have you.

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  37. Oh Rosa! I am so happy to hear you are joining The Great British Chefs team. I adore their site and so many of their amazing recipes. Congrats to you!

    I of course love the notes of history you have included in this post too. The Lemon and Olive Oil Cookies sound heavenly. I can almost taste them "as we speak."

    Thank you so much for sharing, I'm off to visit you at Great British Chefs!

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  38. Rosa, Congratulations!!!on being asked to write for Great British Chefs. Your work is always splendid.
    This recipe looks delicious, the picture is fabulous!

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  39. Congratulations Rosa, for being asked to write for Great British Chefs. They will definitely be gaining a very talented member for their team. Your photos are outstanding. Only you could make this simple cookie look like I could pick it up right off the screen.

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  40. Congratulations Rosa!!

    These are one of the gorgeous cookies I have ever seen. You have penned it so beautifully that I can sense the flavors.

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  41. I don't think I've ever tried olive oil in a cookie before, I must give it a try. Congratulations on Great British Chefs - I love that site!

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  42. Están realmente fantásticos!

    besos

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  43. Oh que j'Aime tes biscuits!!!! Je note la recette! Bon weekend!

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  44. Huge congrats to you on the writing opportunity, my friend! I look forward to reading your articles.

    The cookies are truly lovely and look so delicious!

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  45. Une gourmandise de plus que je viens de découvrir! Bon dimanche Rosa!

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  46. How can I go wrong with this marriage of ingredients...perfection. Thanks Rosa for sharing these sweet bites.

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

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  47. These look so tender. Bet they are wonderful with wine or tea or just about anything.

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  48. Congratulations, Rosa! And you began with a lovely recipe. Your Algerian cookies are perfectly shaped and they look delicious.

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  49. Congratulations I am excited for you, it is such an honour. Wow those cookies and pictures are beautiful!

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  50. Your research on cookies should really get an accolade, Rosa, and I am again impressed with the gorgeous photos that dance to my eyes!

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  51. Encore une fois tes photos sont magnifiques. Je raffole des pâtisseries orientales. C'est une belle découverte ces cookies.

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  52. It's so interesting to learn that cookies originated in Persia! These are so pretty, and they sounds delicious with the lemon zest.

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  53. Bravo pour cette collaboration ! Celà doit être très intéressant.
    verO

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  54. BEAUTIFUL introduction dearest Rosa! I must try these lemon-olive oil cookies, the combination of flavors sound absolutely delightful :) CONGRATS on Great British Chefs!You are very talented and they're lucky to have you!

    Now,I'm off to check out your article!

    HUGS <3

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  55. I always knew u would make it big with your writing and cooking talents. congrats on ur great British chef opportunity and i am so happy for you Rosa:) u deserve the best!! so where is my treat??

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  56. Beautiful cookies! Congratulations on your new gig too.

    Velva

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  57. I had no idea! This biscuits sound so good and exotic to me. I've been baking with olive oil and really love the results so will have to give them a try.

    Congratulations on on joining the Great British Chefs! I'm off to check them out.

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  58. I'm always so hungry after visiting your blog. This a great recipe I need to try soon!

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  59. Rosa, they are so lucky to have you. You are an amazing writer and photographer. I am so happy for you. These cookies/biscuits look like mini donuts. As you know I have a strong affinity for all things lemony so they really caught my eye! I'm pinning them for later!

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  60. Tes photos sont tellement belles... Et tes biscuits tellement appétissants ! Une bien jolie recette Rosa !
    Je te souhaite une excellente soirée ;)
    Bises bises
    Cath

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  61. These cookie look so good...I love lemon...and olive oil sounds awesome in these cookies...always awesome pictures Rosa.
    Enjoy your week :)

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  62. This looks amazingly good! There are all the ingredients that I love in this recipes!

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  63. Oh my - how tempting. I have been holding off on the baking as it's been so hot here, but the weather is cooling and I'm keen to get into the kitchen!

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  64. Congratulation Rosa!!!!
    They are lucky to have you...
    I am loving the pictures, beautiful!

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  65. I am recognizing these! I think you posted a black and white photo of these earlier! And congratulations on your new gig!

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  66. Qui n'aurait pas envie de les faire, ces petites roues dorees, apres avoir vu tes photos?
    Tu me donnes faim!

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  67. Rosa - I am mesmerized by how lovely these cookies are - I will be giving them a try and soon!

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  68. Look amazing Rosa and I love the pictures Happy easter!!

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  69. I love the lemony flavor....looks fabulous. And hearty congratulations...thats a great news:)

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  70. Such beautiful little doughnuts. They are so perfect looking Rosa :)

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  71. Congrats! those cookies must be the perfect treat to celebrate!

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  72. Congratulations on on joining the Great British Chefs, Rosa! Need to check them out right away. I am drooling over these gorgeous cookies...:)

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  73. WOW!! Impeccable photos!!! Literally in photography awe!

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  74. Ils sont magnifiques tes biscuits!!
    Très jolie réalisation!!

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  75. YOU WOK! Congrats on the new gig Rosa. Seriously, couldn't think of anyone more suited and passionate about food and photography. And these biscuits...hello!!!

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  76. Congratulations,Rosa!You surely deserve it! these cookies must be delicious!
    Kisses,from Greece,dear!

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  77. mmm ... irresistible these cookies !!

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  78. O my, I love these cookies, they look like mini bagels-)) And of course, congratulations on on joining the Great British Chefs, Rosa!
    Hugs!!

    Yelena

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  79. Lemon and olive oil sweets are a favourite of mine. And I am loving this biscuit recipe. They look like they would taste wonderful dipped into a hot coffee!

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  80. bonjour Rosa, miam comment résister à ces beaux cookies joliment dorés !! J'espère que tu as passé de belles Fêtes de Pâques. Voilà une recette facile à faire et j'aime ça quand c'est simple et bon à la fois surtout avec cette note de citron comment résister. Je vais garder cette recette dans mes favoris et si jamais je devais la faire sois rassurée je ne manquerais pas de t'en aviser et de mettre un lien vers ton magnifique blog que j'aime à parcourir. Bravo pour toi pour tes nouvelles attributions j'irais visiter ton lien. je trouve que tu le mérites amplement car ton talent est indéniable, je suis fan de ton blog et tu as un talent fou mais tu es et tu sais rester simple, généreuse et ouverte aux autres et c'est cela que j'apprécie aussi beaucoup chez toi !!!. Tes photos sont superbes autant celles des plats que des fleurs et paysages qui t'entourent. Le printemps est annoncé enfin il se sera fait attendre mais le froid persiste toujours. Gros bisous et bonne semaine à la prochaine ;)

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  81. what yummy looking cookies and an amazing recipe lemon and olive oil. Loved your pictures. Start following you now.

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  82. When I saw the first photo, I thought, oh, bagels! Nope, not bagels. Something way better! These sound delicious! I've saved this in my "to do" folder. :-)

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  83. O these are beautiful, so beautiful!. and the recipe does not see as complicated for a not so daring baker like me. Love the light flavors and yes perfect with coffee.

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  84. Hi Rosa,

    Please clarify 1/2 cup olive oil is it 105ml? I use a British standard measuring cup and it says 1/2cup= 125ml

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    Replies
    1. Hi Asmaa,
      Thank you for the comment and for visiting my blog.
      I used 105ml oil...
      Cheers,
      Rosa

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  85. Thank you Rosa for your quick reply.

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