Tasty autumnal spices give this mandazi with coffee and cinnamon its warming taste. This deep-fried cookie is a variation on the traditional mandazi from Kenya. In the traditional version, only cardamom is used. That spice combines so well with coffee and cinnamon! After baking, I sprinkled the mandazi generously with cinnamon sugar. Nice to dip in chocolate milk as you do with Spanish churros, but also delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
From a technical point of view, mandazi may not be proper cookies. But these fried triangles are the most popular snack in Kenya and many countries in East Africa. They are usually not very sweet and they are eaten as a snack with a spicy cup of chai tea, given for breakfast and even served with curries. Mandazi are a real street food that you buy fresh from the fryer at a stand along the road.
This recipe is for the simplest and quickest mandazi. Nowadays you can find them in all shapes, flavors and sizes. But for all Mandazi from Kenya goes: eat them as soon as possible after you have made them. Then they will still be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. If you leave them for too long, they will become tough and dry. And don’t forget the icing sugar!
If you would like to try a more luxurious version of this snack try the recipe for mahamri from Mozambique, made with coconut milk and yeast.
For my variation on the classic shaker churec cookie from Azerbaijan I did not change the recipe much. I only add some saffron and make the cookie in a little circle. I also mix some into the egg yolk with which I brush the saffron butter cookie. Saffron is widely cultivated in Azerbaijan and used in both savory and sweet dishes. Crumble the threads well before use and mix with a little bit of warm water. This releases the aromas and taste from this special spice. You only need a little bit of saffron for a lot of taste. That is a good thing because saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It is the dried stigmata and style from the inside of the saffron crocus. These small threads give this saffron butter cookie beautiful golden color and a wonderfully floral taste.
Saffron butter cookie
for about 8 cookies
± 12 strands of saffron
140 g butter
1 egg (M)
100 g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract or ¼ tsp vanilla powder
225 g flour
Crumble the saffron in a small bowl. Add a few drops of hot water. The saffron should be nice and wet, but not swimming in the water. Leave to soak for about 5 min.
Melt the butter in a small pan.
Separate the egg.
Mix the butter with the powdered sugar and then add the vanilla, egg whites, half of the egg yolk, half of the wet saffron and the flour.
Mix well and Leave to rest in the fridge for ± 1 hour to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the rest of the egg yolk with the rest of the saffron. Form 8 balls of ± 45 g (the size of a large walnut) from the dough. Roll into a rope and brush with the saffron egg yolk. Place them on the baking sheet. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will spread. Make a small indentation in each ball and dab with a little egg yolk.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 min. until lightly browned. Take the saffron cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet. Dust with icing sugar.
The traditional shaker churek cookie from Azerbaijan is one of the most popular cookies in the country. It is almost always baked during Nowruz, a feast to celebrate the beginning of spring. The preparations for this celebration often start 4 weeks in advance. Every Tuesday of the month before Nowruz, festive rituals are performed that relate to the four elements: water, earth, fire and air. During the evening before Nowruz it is the tradition to eat seven dishes that start with the letter S. The Shaker churek cookie is often included. You can make this easy cookie with just a few ingredients. Just before baking, dab the cookie with a a little bit of egg yolk and sprinkle generously with icing sugar before serving.
For my variation on the classic mantecadito cookie from Puerto Rico I made a sandwich biscuit in the form of a heart with a filling of marmalade. The filling of this ginger and marmalade cookie peeps out in the middle. I like a bitterness in my sweet and the marmalade also tastes delicious with the hint of ginger in the dough. If you don’t like marmalade just use a jam that you like. You can also easily make this ginger and marmalade cookie vegan with the tips in the recipe.