Next week I will be thirty-nine years old and after all those years it is hard to believe that I still wake up in some mornings craving my mom's cookies. Like this morning... It must be the Christmas feeling. When I was a little kid my mom used to bake them regularly every week just not to hear me begging constantly. I remember the heavenly smell coming out of our windows filling the street and pleasantly reaching my nose when I was coming back from school doubled up under my backpack or deadly tired after playing soccer on the streets hours long. There is absolutely nothing special about them but I am afraid I am addicted...
So after I moved to New York I started to bake them by myself. That smell brings so many memories back... After quite a few disastrous attempts I think I am getting better but still every year it is a big excitement for me to visit Istanbul because I know that a full tray of perfectly baked cookies will be waiting for me in the kitchen when I walk in. For anybody who wants to try it here is the recipe. I still don't know how this simple recipe ends up different every time but it is always so much fun to wait in front of the oven staring at it and wondering what the result will be...
1 cup plain, full fat yoghurt
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups white fine sugar
2 pounds of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tea spoons baking powder
1 1/2 tea spoons vanilla extract
app. 1/4 pound crushed walnuts (you can also use sliced almonds, pine nuts, raisins or halved hazelnuts)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift the flour and make it ready in a bowl. In a separate larger bowl beat 2 eggs and one egg white (save the yoke for after), sugar, yoghurt and oil till it gets creamy and smooth. Start to add gradually the flour and knead with your both hands. The dough gets super sticky, don't panic. Continue to add the flour and knead till you can roll the dough in little balls and mix crushed walnuts sometime after the dough gets a little firm.
Shape the balls flatter by gently pressing with your fingers when you place them on the tray covered with wax paper. Mix the egg yoke with a table spoon of olive oil and brush the tops of the cookies. Put them in the oven and bake till golden brown. Let me know how it goes...