Pistachios, dates, saffron, espresso coffee, fresh lemon and orange define these pearls of the desert! Tea, coffee or wine beverage completes the experience!
Makes about 7 dozen
1/3 c. shelled, salted, pistachio nuts (I used Iranian pistachios)
1 c. whole dates (I used Dole brand)
zest of 1 orange
1 k cup espresso coffee, dark roast (I used Brooklyn Roastery brand) – or a little more than 2 T. ground espresso coffee
1 pinch saffron threads ( I used Harvest of Saffron – Iranian grown)
1/2 c. or 1 stick margarine
1 c. light brown sugar
1 t. sea salt
1 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. fresh orange squeeze
Liquid saffron sugar for topping:
2 T. fresh lemon squeeze, strained
1/4 t. powdered saffron or crushed saffron threads
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
Place pistachio nuts in food processor. Process till crumbly.
Add dates, zest of orange, espresso and saffron. Process till evenly distributed, pushing down insides of container with spatula. Continue to process till mixture forms a ball. Set aside.
Combine margarine and brown sugar in mixing bowl. Cream with back of large salad fork and/or spoon till creamy.
Add salt, baking soda and vanilla. Stir to incorporate thoroughly.
Add flour. Stir with hands till evenly crumbly.
Add orange juice. Stir with hands till dough forms a smooth ball. Place in clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease baking sheets.
Use large end of melon baller to scoop out a ball of dough – or pinch a piece off with fingers – roll in palms of hands till smooth. Place marble-size balls of dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven on middle rack for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Make liquid saffron sugar:
Combine lemon juice and saffron in bowl. Stir well.
Add 1 cup powdered sugar and stir till smooth. Then add more powdered sugar till you reach a medium thick/thin consistency, so icing drips from tip of teaspoon in a fairly thin and steady stream when you slant the spoon tip side down.
Drizzle icing over tops of cookies in streams, while they are still on wire rack.
When icing dries place in covered container.
Notes: I use a marinade injector syringe to drizzle the cookies. Place large needle on syringe, fill syringe with liquid sugar from the top, place plunger in syringe, then press over cookies to create your icing streams.
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