Chocolate Rose Water Cookies

Rose water, the liquid left over from steeping rose petals to make perfume, is a common ingredient in Persian desserts. So are almonds. In a nod to two holidays this month with roots in Iran – Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which is celebrated on the first day of spring, and Purim, the Jewish festival commemorating the tale of…

Tibetan Tsampa Snacks

  Last year, I spent five months tutoring children at a community center for Himalayan immigrants in Queens.  I taught academic enrichment classes, and learned all about Tibetan cuisine from my students and coworkers. Located high up on a plateau in the Himalayan region, Tibet has a harsh climate. Wintertime temperatures often drop below zero, so traditional foods tend to be hearty, like momo (meat-filled…

Parathas

Parathas are a South Asian flatbread, typically served with eggs (anda in Hindi/Urdu) for breakfast. Flaky and somewhat thick, paratha dough is layered with oil or ghee and folded multiple times, much like puff pastry. Sometimes, the dough is stuffed stuffed with potatoes (aloo) or cheese (paneer.) I first attempted to make parathas in college, using a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East…

Homemade Bagels

Even if homemade bagels weren’t so delicious, they’d be worth making for the experience alone. They’re an especially fun project for kids. I taught a group of elementary school students how to make bagels once, and they delighted in shaping dough by spinning it around their thumbs, cooking the bagels in simmering water, and sprinkling the…

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

This is another excellent recipe from the blog Sweet Little Joys. These shortbread cookies are flavored with cinnamon and a hint of cayenne pepper, just like the beverage they’re named after. A Google search on the history of Mexican hot chocolate led me to a fascinating Chicago Tribune article, dating back to 1942, that describes how…

Homemade Tortilla Pizza

This recipe, by food science guru Kenji Lopez-Alt, calls for topping a store-bought tortilla with tomato sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, and basil, cooking it in a cast iron skillet, and then broiling it in the oven until the cheese is bubbly. It’s the kind of pizza meant for a quick weeknight dinner. I decided to complicate things just…

Cheddar-Chive Popovers

A good friend of mine, author of the food blog Sweet Little Joys, shared a delicious chive and Parmigiano-Reggiano popover recipe with me from the cookbook Back in the Day Bakery: Made With Love, by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day.  I made a few minor adaptations, swapping cheddar for Parmigiano-Reggiano and using a muffin tin rather than…

Jeera Biscuits – Cumin Seed Cookies

Jeera biscuits are a popular tea-time snack in India and Pakistan. At once salty and sweet, these shortbread cookies are infused with toasted cumin seeds (jeera means cumin in Hindi and Urdu.) When I visit my in-laws, who are originally from Pakistan,  I often bring a batch of jeera biscuits. We eat them plain, or…

Banana Hazelnut Blondies

This is a personal spin on one of my favorite brownie recipes: chocolate hazelnut truffle squares, from The Clueless Baker by Evelyn Raab. Ground hazelnuts replace flour in these decadent, chocolate-chunk-filled blondies. Because hazelnuts are high in fat, this recipe calls for less butter than typical blondies. In addition, there are more eggs than usual. The…

Chocolate Babka Loaves

I was looking through my cookbook collection the other day, and rediscovered a favorite from my pastry school days:  The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri, founder of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education. Sadly, the book seems to no longer be in print, but there are used copies available on Amazon. The recipes produce restaurant-quality baked…

Pandesal: Filipino Bread Rolls

Next stop in my random geographic coordinates series? The Philippines. Two years ago, when I was teaching elementary school students about breads from around the world, I asked the children if they had a favorite type of bread. A fourth grader shared that she had fond memories of eating pandesal, a popular Filipino bread roll, when she visited her mother’s family in…

South Indian Coconut Flatbread

My next pair of randomly generated coordinates took me to the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Having spent far more time traversing New York City than the globe, I first became acquainted with South Indian food at Tiffin Wallah, a restaurant in Manhattan’s so-called Curry Hill. I’ve been back repeatedly over the past 10…