Here’s part two of our Nowruz (Persian New Year) cookies mini series. You’ll find the Walnut Cookies and read more about Nowruz here. Today’s cookies, Naan-e Berenji, also known as Shirini Berenji are gluten free too and are made with rice flour. These Persian Rice cookies are so addictive, not too sweet but because of the very soft dough, has an almost melt in the mouth texture.
This is one of three recipes that I have from friends and it’s my favourite for its light, gone in a moment texture. I have to warn you though, not the easiest dough to work with because of its soft, sticky nature, but oh so yummy! I’ve not played around with this recipe, because, as mentioned, I have two more that are of a “sturdier” nature but this is definitely our favourite!
Start the day before!
- 250g icing (powdered) sugar
- 250g salted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 300g rice flour
- seeds of 5 cardamom, ground
- poppy seeds
- extra icing sugar for dusting hands
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This will take 3-5 minutes depending on the speed of your beaters.
- Add egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will turn from rather runny to quite thick, like icing.
- Beat in the rose water.
- Fold in the flour and cardamom. The batter will still be fairly soft. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight to firm up and for the flavours to develop.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160˚C.
- Using your hands, form little balls with the dough, press them slightly and place on the baking sheet, giving an inch between each cookie. Dust your hands with the extra icing sugar every so often as the dough will get soft and sticky as soon as it warms up in your hands.
- If you like, using a table knife, a fork or cookie cutter, form deep little patterns on each cookie. The dough spreads and does not retain its pattern very well, unless you place the cookies in the fridge, which I don't bother with.
- Sprinkle some poppy seeds in the middle of each cookie.
- If you want, refrigerate for 20 minutes before baking for about 10 - 14 minutes. 10 if they were not placed in the fridge. The cookies should still retain their light colour, no browning.
Prep time here does not include overnight rest period in the fridge. Start the day before you intend to bake them.
The dough is very soft and sticky, dusting your hands with icing sugar as you roll the cookies into little balls in your hands will help the process.