The smell of Noon-Berenji as I bake them brings back so many nostalgic memories of my childhood days at the time of Norooz back in Iran. These cookies are incredibly delicate and aromatic because of the cardamom and rosewater in the recipe. As mentioned below I use less sugar than the traditional recipes would call for. Also, some recipes call for shortening instead of ghee but I never use shortening. Ghee adds a lot of flavour to these cookies and is a lot healthier than shortening. But, be sure to use ghee and not butter, since butter has too much moisture to be used in this recipe and will result in harder cookies. The other note I want to make is that be sure to use really high quality and fine rice flour since the texture of these cookie depend greatly on the quality of the rice flour you use. I always buy my rice flour from an Iranian store since I have tried other more commonly available white rice flours like Bob’s Red Mill and was never satisfied with the final result since these rice flours are too coarse for this recipe. Also, make sure to sift the sugar and flour first and rest the dough at least overnight.
500 Grams. Fine White Rice Flour
150-200 Grams. Organic Powdered (Icing) Sugar (depending on how sweet you like them, I use 150 but the traditional versions are sweeter)
250 Grams. Ghee (Melted but not hot)
1/4 Cup Rosewater
1 Egg White (room temperature)
2 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
1 1/2 Tsp. Freshly Ground Cardamom
1. Cream the melted ghee and icing sugar together using a hand mixer until you have a very smooth and creamy mixture (about 3 mins)
2. Add the cardamom to the ghee/sugar mixture and mix well.
3. Mix the egg yolks, whites and rosewater in a small bowl and whisk until fluffy.
4. Add the egg mix to the ghee/sugar mixture.
5. Sift the flour into the rest of the ingredients using a fine sieve and then using a spatula gently mix everything until you reach a smooth consistency. You might need to use your hands and knead the dough for a bit.
6. Shape the dough into a round ball, cover and rest the dough in the fridge overnight.
7. Two hours before you are ready to bake the cookies take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature (otherwise the dough would be too hard and you won’t be able to shape it!)
8. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Knead the dough and take small amounts and shape into small balls and then press lightly with the palm of you hand to create round cookies. You can now decorate the cookies using the smaller side of a round piping tip (you can see how I decorate mine in the pictures). Place the cookies on a baking sheet covered with unbleached parchment paper and top if with some purslane seeds or ground pistachio.
10. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 15-20 (depends on your oven, my oven runs a bit hot so my cookies are usually done in about 15 mins). Keep an eye on the cookies after 15 mins to avoid over-browning and burning.
11. Once baked, take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool for half an hour (these rice cookies are very delicate so let them cool a bit to avoid crumbling) before transforming them into a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy these delicate, fragrant cookies with a hot cup of freshly brewed tea!
Makes about 50-60 cookies.