These melt-in-your mouth cookies are traditionally served as dessert at the festive meal on Purim day. They’re less sweet than most cookies and hamantaschen and are supposed to resemble Queen Esther’s jewelry. (If you also want to make hamantaschen, check out the recipe in our most recent print edition, out last week.)
Adapted from Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken)
Prep time: About an hour and half (including chilling time)
Baking time: About 12 minutes
Yield: Approximately 36 ring-shaped cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- About 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 1/3 cups semolina flour, or just 2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- About 36 blanched whole almonds
- Additional confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling
Cream the butter until smooth in a medium-sized bowl; gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about ten minutes). Cream in the salt and extract. Gradually add the flour, just enough to form a smooth dough that holds together. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and then roll the balls into ropes, each about 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Place two inches apart on the baking sheet, bring the ends together and press one end over the other to seal the ring shape. Press an almond into the center of each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes, until set but not browned. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.