Nutty and spiced, these little itsy bitsy cookies are irresistible source of delight!
There is really no stopping when you start on these, and that is the reason I am not baking these in a long time. At least not for ourselves.
However I am glad that I did try out this combination of spices and the savory with a little hint of sweet cookies. Nigella/ kalonji as it is popularly called in India, is used not just in India but also a lot in the Mediterranean cuisine to flavor flat breads or to top crackers and breads. The slight onion like aroma adds a very distinct flavor to whatever it is added to.
The overcast skies turned the photo shoot of this set of cookies into a nightmare. So please bear with totally out of focus photographs, and take my word that they do taste way better than they look here.
The cookies stay fresh in an air-tight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks. It is a great make ahead snack and makes a perfect pair with wine or any cocktail. The spicy and the sweet combination of this light, flaky nutty cookies with tease your senses to grab them one after another.
Almond, Nigella Pepper Cocktail Cookies
Ingredients: (makes approx. 50 small – about 3/4 inch cookies)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) half & half or heavy/double/ cream, might need a little more or less – so adjust the amount
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried pepper/red pepper flakes , or adjust amount to taste
- 1/4 cup almonds. coarsely ground
- 1/2 teaspoon dry herb mix (use your favorite herb/or a mix of dried herbs)
- more nigella and/or sea salt to decorate/sprinkle on the cookies
Process the almond with half a tablespoon of sugar, ( I put all the nuts in the blender to chop. Some of the almonds were powdered, the others were coarsely chopped, which really worked out great) until you get a coarse powder.
Preheat oven to 400c degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, black pepper, crushed pepper, 1 teaspoon crushed nigella seeds and salt.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 2/3 cup of half-and-half or cream (whatever you are using) until just moistened. Fold in the nuts.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, 5 to 10 times or for a minute. Pat into a 1/4- 1/2-inch-thick round (do it as thick as you would want your cookies to be; they puff up a lot!)
Cut into desired shape. I used a cookie cutter to make stars.
Place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon of half & half/cream. Sprinkle with nigella. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. You might need to adjust baking time depending on the size of the cookies. The smaller cookies will bake faster.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Store in an air tight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 15 – 18 minutes
Serves/Makes: approx. 50 tiny cookies
Shelf Life: a couple of weeks at room temperature in an airtight container