I love to bake, and Eid ul Fitr is my favorite time to do so. Baking has been one of my most ardent expressions of joy for Eid. I normally bake and prepare a combination of Libyan, North American, Middle Eastern, and at times European sweets. Because I do a lot of baking, I tend to steer clear of too many individual pieces, and prefer to do trays of baklava, kunafa, basboosa, cakes, muffins, sfinz, donuts, and only a few varieties of individual pastries such as tamar mugammit, magrood (check out this link An Eid Tradition – Libyan Magrood (Semolina, Date & Honey Cookies) , which I attempted for the first time last year, and it works quite well), ghrayba halgoom, kaak hilu, and kaak malah/kammoun (three varieties of the same basic cookie dough: sweet with Turkish delight, sweet with aniseed or stuffed with dates, and salty with sesame seeds. These are all Libyan recipes, as my husband is Libyan, and my kids have developed a predilection for Libyan dishes, both sweet and spicy. For some of these recipes, try out this link for Libyan sweets.
This year, however, I found some nice cookie cutters, inspired by a pre-Ramadan IG post by muslim mummy. While in Switzerland, back in 2011-12, I was given some of the most delicious Christmas cookies, and this year I figured, since I got my hands on some pretty handsome cookie cutters, that I’d try my hand at these Swiss delights, which are actually much tastier than any cookie I remember making. They’re quite simple and don’t require intense labor, unlike many other sweets. This recipe comes from Giallo Zafferano, where it’s found in Italian, I translated it and made a few adjustments, which might appeal to North American and other non-European bakers. I suggest you visit their site to get an idea of how to mix everything, as well as reviews, and pictures from other people who have tried the recipe themselves. The site is very rich in really beautiful recipes from all of Italy and surrounding regions, and is well worth a visit. These particular cookies are called Tirol Cookies with Strawberry Jam (biscotti tirolesi con confettura di fragole), and as the name suggests, they are traditionally made in the South Tirol area of Austria/North-eastern region of Italy (Alto Adige), and south/south-eastern areas of Switzerland (Ticino/Valais). This recipe calls for strawberry jam, but I also made a version with Nutella, or you can substitute peanut, cashew, or almond butter, custard, marmalade, or any other sweet concoction you enjoy. There are quite of few visuals, and your browser can probably translate most of the page fairly accurately. I prefer to do my own translation, being bi-lingual. They are often made for Christmas, but you can adjust them for any occasion. In my case, for Eid ul Fitr!
So without further ado, here are the ingredients, and instructions:
250 g white flour (size 00) – equivalent to 2 cups
8 g baking powder (1 1/2 tsp)
(optional for chocolate version: 2 Tbsp/30g of cocoa powder)
100 g white sugar (I used slightly ground organic sugar)
a pinch of salt
125 g unsalted butter (about 1 cup) at room temperature
Jam (any kind you like – just avoid large chunks that would make your cookies uneven)
icing sugar to sprinkle on top once baked
In a large bowl, or clean flat surface, pour the sifted flour and baking powder. Make a well in the middle, and add the sugar, salt, chopped up butter, and the egg. Mix and kneed
inwardly until a smooth ball forms. The heat of your hands should help melt the butter.
Wrap in a sealed container (or cellophane) and refrigerate for at least an hour. I like to prepare this at night and tackle the rolling and baking the next day.
Preheat oven at 180C, or 350F. If you’re using a convection oven, reduce the heat by about 10C, or 15F, and the time to 10-15 minutes.
Roll out the dough to about 3-5 mm thickness and cut out an even number of round shapes. Press in a smaller cut-out into half of these, to make the tops, where the jam will peek through. Once you have used up all your dough, it’s time to place about 1/2-3/4 tsp of jam (or whichever sweet mixture you have chosen) in the middle of the whole circles, and top them with the circles that have the extra opening shape. press slightly to ensure the jam is somewhat distributed and you have a fairly even surface.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Once cool, sprinkle with icing sugar. Keep in a sealed container, or in freezer bags, or distribute for Eid in little bags.