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Culinary Canvas: Almond Cookies (Nan-e Badami)

May 27, 2014

This month’s recipe is inspired by our current exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, which explores Islamic art and science throughout the centuries and around the world. Several beautifully decorated pieces of pottery can be found in the exhibition, including this striking bowl from Kashan, located in modern Iran. The Persian Empire spanned this area during ancient times and its cultural thread has continued, influencing food in the region today. In fact, Persians were one of the first to produce sugar and create recipes for cookies–some dating back to the 12th century–and sweets remain an important part of Persian celebrations today. Try this simple Persian recipe to add an interesting new flavor to your cookie repertoire and then be sure to stop by the Museum before Nur closes next month!

Blue and White Bowl with Radial Design, 13th Century , Iran, Kashan, fritware, painted in cobalt blue under transparent glaze, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Brush, Brooklyn, USA

Blue and White Bowl with Radial Design, 13th Century , Iran, Kashan, fritware, painted in cobalt blue under transparent glaze, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Brush, Brooklyn, USA

Almond Cookies

Yields about 60 cookies
Level: Very Easy

5 egg yolks
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons rosewater (optional, can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets)
2 cups finely ground almonds or almond flour
2 teaspoons cardamom
½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 250° F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat yolks and sugar at medium speed until light. Add rosewater if desired.

In a separate bowl, stir together almond flour, cardamom, and baking powder. Slowly add almond mixture to mixer, stirring on low speed and scraping down sides of bowl until fully incorporated. Resulting dough should be slightly sticky.

To form cookies, scoop off about a teaspoon of dough then roll between hands to shape into a ball. Flatten ball between palms and place on baking sheet. Bake about 25 minutes, watching closely to ensure cookies do not brown.

When removed from oven, cookies will look very soft and should remain so at room temperature. Allow to cool on baking sheet then transfer to metal rack to cool completely.


 
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Recipe adapted from Food of Life: A Book of Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

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