In my family, five o’clock tea has always been a must during the day because we are very British. No, we are not, but isn’t five o’clock tea, which started in Britain, a very much international habit now? So yes, we love this too, and we love having a few snacks to go with our well-brewed tea. One of the most common snacks in these tea sessions is salty and savoury cookies in various shapes and tastes. These cookies are generally sold in patisseries in Turkey and you can find at least a couple of different types in each patisserie. There are also sweet versions too of course, but in this recipe I will focus only on savoury versions.
I will admit: these are definitely not the healthiest cookies in the world. They are rich with butter and white flour. And I honestly don’t know if you can substitute white flour with a healthier one in this recipe. But I just want to share the recipe in case you want to get a bit off the healthy track every now and then. I certainly do!
The interesting thing about these cookies are, even though they are very tasty by themselves, it is not the greatest idea to eat them on their own. It is wiser, and much better to have a cup of tea together with them. This is because they feel too dry if you eat them on their own; it always feels and tastes better when the moist taste of tea comes into the picture.
One other thing about these cookies is that they stay fresh for quite a long time! I once made some and put in a container but I accidentally left the cover slightly open and nothing happened to the cookies for one whole week even though it was not an airtight container after all!
Ok this is enough for the background story, plus, I realised that I actually don’t have much to say about these cookies!!! Just bake and enjoy them when you want to cover your body with butter!!!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (easy)
(makes about 60 cookies with the heart and star shaped small cookie cutters you see in the pictures)(adapted from a Turkish food blog, “Hayat Cafe Tarifleri”)
(in my recipes, 1 cup = 2.4 dl)
125 gr butter, soft in room temperature
1 cup / 2 dl. + 2 tbsp + 2 tsp vegetable oil (like canola oil, but NO olive oil)
1/4 cup / 4 tbsp white vinegar (no other type of vinegar is good, because they may add extra taste)
1.5 tbsp granulated white sugar
2 tsp red pepper flakes (you can also use aleppo pepper – and you can reduce the amount to 1 tsp if you don’t want them too spicy)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg white (keep the yolk for egg wash!)
3.5 cups / 8 dl. + 2 tbsp + 2 tsp white flour
For the surface:
Egg yolk (1 or more, depending on the need – I brush each cookie generously so I end up using 2 egg yolks sometimes..)
Sesame and/or poppy seeds
1. In a mixing bowl, put softened butter and vegetable oil and beat them well in medium speed.
2. Add ALL the remaining ingredients (except for egg yolk which is to be used for the surface of cookies). I would suggest adding flour gradually, about 1 dl each time. What you are aiming for is a soft, a bit greasy dough. Depending on the flour you use, you might reach this consistency already after using 3 cups flour – so you wouldn’t need to use the rest. Once you have a good cookie dough, put in a bowl, cover with stretch film and let it chill for a while in the fridge – about 30 minutes is enough.
3. In the meantime, while dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 180C.
4. Take out the dough from the fridge. Take about a handful piece each time, flatten on a surface with a baking sheet. The thickness I prefer is 1/2 cm. Use your hands to flatten the dough, it is easier and they don’t need to have perfect smooth surface. Once you have the correct thickness, cut pieces using your cookie cutter*. Alternatively, you can make little balls too. Put all the cookies on an oven tray with baking sheet on. Unless you have a massive oven, you will have to make several batches. So what I do is, and this is IMPORTANT, I put the cut cookies on baking tray back in the fridge while I am preparing the next batch. This way they keep staying cool and in the oven they don’t spread much, keeping their shape.
5. Once cookies are chilled one more time in the fridge, brush with egg yolk generously and put sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds on top. Bake them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until the surfaces are brown. I put my cookies on top rack in the oven, you may want to do the same for better browned surfaces (but this depends a lot on your own oven..). Once baked, let them cool for a while, maybe until they get to room temperature, before eating (I find them a bit too heavy when they are too fresh). Enjoy with well-brewed tea!
*While using a cookie cutter, you should find your own way of cutting. The dough can easily get crumbly. What I do is, I try to take the piece up together with the cookie cutter and then gently release the shaped cookie on to the baking sheet..