Klaichas are a national treat from Iraq. Traditionally, they press them into special moulds similar to tabis, but I just press them with the prongs of a fork. I have used Rapadura sugar to sweeten the dough, and using rice, tapioca and buckwheat flours to make these treats gluten free and more like shortbreads. You could also use some sorghum flour instead of some of the rice flour. That works really well too. I have also made some yummy versions using almond flour, which is a more nutritious alternative, but I found it a bit overpowering for Klaicha, and was too much of a departure from the personality of the original cookies. Now, these are not the most healthy blender recipes I have posted! Julia Child and her “you can never have enough butter” approach found its way into my kitchen with these. But, you just can’t make really delectable shortbread without the magic of butter. But they are tiny – Yes! We will tell ourselves that as we surreptitiously grab for a second or third; or dare I say it, fourth! I challenge you to stop at just one! These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free and nut-free; and are downright spectacular.
- 1Sift flours and xanthan into a mixing bowl and combine well. Add in the sugar and mix evenly.
- 2Cut room temperature butter into small pieces and rub into flour with fingertips until distributed evenly. I do this in a food processor and just keep pulsing until the butter is evenly distributed and there are no clumps. Don’t walk away and leave the machine on or you will end up with a butter ball.
- 3Mix the rose water with the filtered water and sprinkle onto flour mixture. Pulse again to form a firm dough and then knead lightly until smooth. Cover the dough with cling film and rest for about 30 minutes.
- 4Meanwhile make the filling – Chop the dates and then gently heat them on low with the butter, stirring until the dates have softened – about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on your dates. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- 5Roll the dough into small round balls about the size of a large walnut or tablespoon.
- 6Flatten each ball like a pancake in the palm of your hand and place a teaspoonful of the date filling in the centre. Fold over the edges of the dough to close over and cover the date filling. Roll the dough back into a ball with your hands. This can be a bit tricky if you fill the balls with too much filling.
- 7If you want to be really traditional you can press each ball into a special Middle Eastern carved mould similar to a tabi. Alternatively, (which is the way I did it) press each side of the ball with a fork to indent, slightly flatten, and then press the sides of the balls to round up, before placing on a baking sheet.
- 8Bake in the oven at about 160 C / 325 F oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
- 9Allow the cookies to cool on the tray as they will firm up and get a little bit more crispy. Store in a sealed container for use later – if they last that long. It is pretty hard to stop at one! YUM!
Member recipes are not tested by the CHOW food team.