|Santa won't leave if you put these out with a glass of milk|
One of my favorite Christmas cookies of all time are the nut turnovers (sambusik) my grandmother used to make. These were the only cookie I remember her baking. My aunt told me recently, these were her signature cookie. She made them every Christmas for as long as I can remember. We would always wait with anticipation for her to start her baking. My grandmother came to this country when she was 16 with an uncle, leaving behind her mother, father and 5 sisters. Full of hopes and dreams for a new and better life, she embarked on an adventure knowing she would probably never see her family again. She came with a bag of her belongings, a lace trimmed hankie from a dear friend, and all her mothers recipes burned into her memory. She lived with family in N.J. and a marriage was arraigned. With the help of her aunt that marriage never took place. Ever the independent strong minded woman, she met and married my grandfather while working in Thomas Edison's factory. While I was growing up my grandmother was the heartbeat of our family. I am so lucky to have wonderful memories of her, and many of her recipes handed down from my mother.
These cookies are so delicious and are now part of my Christmas baking. They are flavored with mahleb, which is the pit of the sour cherry used in breads, cookies and baked goods in the Middle East, and orange blossom water. You can find mahleb at Penzey's here. You can find orange blossom water in middle eastern grocery stores and online.
|Mahleb and orange blossom water|
|I break off pieces of dough and pat into a round, then fill with a spoon of nut filling|
|These cookies will brown on the bottom but not so much on top|
|Roll in powdered sugar|
|Lebanese Sambusik...my Grandmothers cookie!|
Sambusik (Lebanese Nut Turnovers)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 lb. butter (melted)
1/2 Tablespoon mahleb (finely ground) I use an electric coffee grinder to grind the mahleb
1cup of milk
Confectionary sugar for rolling
2 cups coarsely ground walnuts
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1/2 cup sugar
In small bowl mix all ingredients for filling.
Mix all dry ingredients. Add melted butter and milk and knead thoroughly. Roll out and cut into rounds. Put a spoon of nut filling onto each round and fold dough over to form half moons. Bake at 350〫20 minuets. Bottoms will be browned. When cool roll cookie in confectionary sugar.
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