I liked the taste of the kleeja cookie from Iraq so much that I decided not to mess about with it, but to make a nice filling with dried fruit and nuts. Although dates are the most popular dried fruit in Iraq I did not use them because I wanted a fresher taste for my filling for my variation of the traditional kleeja cookie. Instead, I made a rough paste out of dried apricots for a sweet fruity taste, cashew nuts for creaminess and lemon juice and rind for a fresh sour kick. The result is a few big mouthfuls of crunchy cookie and sticky sour-sweet filling. Very satisfying!
Cardamom sandwich cookie
For about 10 cookies
100 grams (½ cup) sugar
30 milliliters (2 tbsp) milk
180 grams (1½ cups) whole wheat flour
½ tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
75 grams (¼ cup) melted ghee or sunflower oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
100 grams (½ cup) dried apricots
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
50 grams (⅓ cup) cashewnuts
In a little saucepan heat the sugar with the milk over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and take off the heat.
In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt and cardamom.
Add the melted ghee and rub between your fingertips until the mixture becomes grainy.
Add the milk and half of the egg and quickly knead into a smooth ball. Add some extra milk if the dough is too crumbly.
Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Roll out the dough into ¼ inch thick sheet. Cut out ø 8 cm / 3 inch round cookies with a cookie cutter or a glass. Roll out the remaining dough again and cut out more cookies. Repeat until all the dough has been used up.
Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Press in lines with the back of a knife and brush with the remaining egg. Bake in the middle in the oven for about 15-20 mins. until light brown. Take from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.
Cut the apricots in quarters and, in a food processor, chop them into a rough paste with the cashew nuts together with the lemon juice and rind.
Divide the paste over the bottom of half of the cookies and press on the other half.
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