In the desert country Qatar the date palm is king. Even in this hot, dry land without much proper fertile soil, the tree produces large bunches of dates. They are the ultimate desert food, high in calories, easy to keep and easy to carry. No wonder many dishes and sweets in this country are prepared with this sticky sweet fruit. The rangeena cookie from Qatar was traditionally made when the new date harvest was brought in. You can find rangeena in all sorts of shapes and forms. It is served with a thin flour and ghee sauce as a warm dessert, or firm, the way I made it, as a snack. I was wondering if I could call it a cookie because no oven is used to make it. But the flour – which is toasted for a deeper taste – made me decide I could. Because dates are very sweet you do not need much sugar in the dough and you will even see recipes without any sugar at all. I added just a little bit of powdered sugar to mine. You only need a thin slice of this sweet confection with its crunchy center of nuts to satisfy the sweetest of teeth. Mmmm!
Rangeena cookie from Qatar
for about 15 cookies
125 grams (1 cup) flour
175 grams (1⅔ cups) ghee, at room temperature
25 grams (2½ tbs) of powdered sugar (or to taste)
pinch of salt
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp ground nutmeg
± 10 fresh (Medjoul) dates,
120 grams (1 cup) of walnuts
60 grams (½ cup) of pistachio nuts
Toast the flour in a frying pan until it turns light brown.
Take the flour out of the pan and sieve in a bowl. Let cool down
Add the ghee, the salt, the cardamom and the nutmeg.
Quickly bring together into a soft ball of dough..
Roast the walnuts in a dry pan and chop them roughly.
Stone the dates and chop the pistachio nuts roughly.
Put a piece of baking paper or cling film on a work surface and spread the dough into a rectangle of ± 15 x 25 cm (6 x 10 inches).
Place half of the dates with the inside facing upwards in the middle of the dough. Sprinkle over the walnuts and cover with a layer of dates with the outside facing upwards.
Roll up using the baking paper or cling film and leave it in the refrigerator to become firm. Remove the roll from the refrigerator, remove the foil and roll through the pistachio nuts. Cut the roll into slices.
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