Bride’s purses (Traditional Agerian almond cookies)

The May 2009, Challenge is brought to us by Khadidja Zehani from www.dessert-world.blogspot.com. Khadidja worked on two recipes to give us two choices; one for a wonderful savoury dish and one for outstanding dessert….

What can I say? First of all, Khadidja’s work is amazing. Her photographs are  so beautiful, I had to try making them! And quite serendipitously my brother Michel and his better half, Avelina, decided to get married in a religious ceremony on Saturday, May 30th in San Fransisco. So, I am pleased to offer them these cookies “slilet al arouss”, or “the bride’s package” to Michel and Avelina with my  very best wishes.

According to Khadidja, these cookies are originally from Algiers. They are composed of a filling made up of ground blanched almonds and are encased in a very thin and translucent dough flavored with orange blossom water. They are shaped like  little purses and  dipped in an orange blossom and lemon flavored syrup.

I started with the filling.

INGREDIENTS: This recipe will yield 40 cookies

For the filling:

1 can of almond paste or 300g of ground blanched almonds

180g of powdered sugar

1 large egg

Zest of a large lemon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the outer dough:

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (in volume) or 2 oz of clarified butter

pinch salt

1/2  cup (4 oz) orange blossom water

For the decoration:

Lemon extract

Bottles of different colors of food coloring

non-toxic gold dust in a small capsule

For the syrup:

1 cup of granulated sugar

2  cups of water

2 Tablespoons  orange blossom water

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon rind from one large lemon

METHOD:

  • Mix the filling ingredients in a food processor until you obtain a cohesive dough. If it is still wet and sticky, add more powdered sugar.
  • Using a cookie dough scooper, form small balls of dough. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and let them rest in the fridge.
  • In the food processor, mix the flour, salt  and clarified butter first. Then add the orange blossom water gradually through the feeding tube until the dough turns into one big lump, adding more flour, bit by bit, if it is still sticky and wet. From the dough into a ball and wrap it in wax paper and let it rest for one hour at room temperature. If you are going to color the dough, divide it into smaller balls and apply the food coloring, a few drops at a time, and knead the dough manually until the color gets uniform throughout. Let it rest in small plastic bags.
  • Make the syrup: mix the sugar, water, lemon rind in a saucepan on medium heat; let it simmer about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the orange blossom water and the lemon juice. Cover the saucepan and let the syrup cool.
  • To form the cookies: The easiest way is to use a manual pasta machine. Cut the dough in small and manageable lupms and run them through the machine decreasing the opening to make the strips thinner and thinner. When satisfied, you can place the strips on a cold surface on which you have sprinkled a bit of cornstarch and use a rolling pin to finish the job and make the dough paper thin and translucent. Use a large cookie cutter (5 inch) or a glass and cut rounds in the dough. Enclose the ball of filling and twist the dough on top to seal it.
  • Let the formed cookies rest for one hour on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, without letting them brown.
  • Plunge the hot cookies in the syrup for a few seconds and remove them with a slotted spoon. Place on gold-rimmed paper liners if you wish (it helps to keep the surface of your platter free of syrup).
  • Present the cookies to the bride and groom and all the guests.

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NOTE:

If you wish to apply gold dust, do so after the cookies are ready to be consumed. Mix a teaspoon of lemon extract and a 1/8 teaspoon of gold dust in a tiny bowl with either a brush, a small teaspoon or a popsicle stick. Apply by dabbing the gold liquid gingerly on each cookie.

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18 Comments

  1. Jean
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Receiving cookies like this is amost an incentive to marry again (my own wife, of course :-) )

  2. Posted May 30, 2009 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    so beautiful
    have a nice day

  3. Posted May 30, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Well done, I love it !

  4. Posted May 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh WOOOOOOOOOOOOW
    Love your algerian sweets, Cograts for our first challage, really I am enjoying the event, aren’t you???
    Salam habibty we mabrouk leena kolena, Merci cherie !

  5. Posted May 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh your sweets look so good and cute too! Well done!!!!!!

  6. Joumana
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I love this event! Especially because it gave me a chance to discover Algerian cuisine, which I know so little about!

  7. Joumana
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much Mag. It was fun and I love to learn about Algerian cuisine and heritage

  8. Posted May 30, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana,
    Concerning the Batata bil lahmeh stew. The recipe I made does not include an aliyyeh like (kouzbara w toum), just add fresh cilantro or fresh chopped parsley or both. The recipe has one big clove of garlic cooked with the onion only for the flavoring. Now if you wanna add meat, add that with the onion too, like any stew cooked with meat. Thanks for referring my recipe to your brother :) Hope he’ll like and find it easy. I hope my answer was helpful :)

  9. Joumana
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much!

  10. Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow!! Those are so impressive, fantastic!

  11. Joumana
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for your encouraging comment. Joumana

  12. Posted June 1, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    These Algerian cookies are gorgeous! They sound so delicious too, full of almond paste. One of my very favorites! Your cookies are little gems, great job!

  13. Posted June 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Great job on your first challenge dear Joumana… Very beautiful almond baskets, I bet your enjoying this challenge. Very proud of you.
    Alef mabrouk for the happy couple allah yehanihoun…

    the June challenge now is posted in the Walima Blog and in the Forum.
    Happy cooking

  14. Joumana
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Arlette
    I really want to thank you again for the idea ( you are a true Lebanese, very entrepreneurial!) of the Walima club. I asked a technical question in the blog and hope I can get some clarifications. Shukran for the best wishes.

  15. Posted June 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful looking ( and i am sure great tasting) dessert…i left you a comment on your post on the walima club blog…your photos are great!!

  16. Joumana
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks!

  17. Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    bravo! your slilet laarous is so perfect!

    I like the concept of walima and would like to join your community. could you please show me the procedure?
    thanks in advance and all the best for your blog

  18. Joumana
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Shookran!
    Arlette is the one who organized the Walima Club. Go to phoeniciagourmet.blogspot.com
    and she will explain the procedure. Welcome!!

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