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Sephardic Cookies (Biscochos de Huevo)

We are finally back after an almost year long absence, I never thought it would take us this long to start back but the longer we waited the lazier we’ve become. I must have mentioned this before; I cook and bake, my husband takes the photos, and then I write the post and finally post it, so that means we both have to be available at the same time. And time (I should probably mention energy too) was exactly what we didn’t have for a long time, lots have happened in the past year, we sold our condo, found a house, moved and now that we are mainly settled in, we decided it was high time to start posting new recipes again.
 
Trying new recipes or making old ones have become even more exciting since I started to bake regularly with my almost 3 year old daughter Sara, she loves baking and she really enjoyed making these Sephardic cookies or ‘Grandma’s cookies’ as my family call them.

My grandmother kept a giant jar of these cookies on her kitchen counter year round (except for Passover); they were exceptionally tender, very lightly sweetened and they had a lovely citrus aroma. She wasn’t a baker but she was a very good cook and her cookies were always perfectly shaped and baked with a nice shine from the egg wash brushed on top.

She didn’t use measuring cups or a digital scale, needless to say, she didn’t have access to the infinite number of recipes on the internet, so she baked what her mother and grandmothers did and her recipes were not written anywhere.  For these cookies, she used a Turkish coffee cup (which roughly equals to a third of a cup) each of sugar and oil and she added the flour by just feeling the dough. I made multiple batches of these cookies, adding more flour, using less, only baking soda, some baking soda and some baking powder trying to replicate the same cookies she made so effortlessly. I find, the key to the tender crumb is the baking soda.

I should also mention, mastic is optional but I add it because I love the aroma and I think it goes exceptionally well with citrus. Also, I like the twisted shape because that is what I grew up with but the dough is extremely easy to work with and can be shaped into rings or any shape you like.
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • Zest of 2 lemons or 1 large orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 ½ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • Mastic (optional)
Egg glaze:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
 
Mix the egg and sugar with a whisk, add the oil, and citrus zest, mix to combine. Switch to a spatula and gradually add the flour, baking soda and if using, mastic.
 
A soft dough that doesn’t stick to your hands will form very quickly; do not over work the dough. Shape the cookies using about a walnut size piece of dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the cookies with the egg wash and if using sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 13-17 minutes, until the cookies turn a very light golden colour.

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