I’d been eyeing these cookies in the Jerusalem cookbook for quite awhile now and the holidays seemed an ideal time to finally give them a whirl! While a little involved, I found the effort completely worth it as they were absolutely fantastic. Truly, this is a special cookie with some very complex flavors going on! Looking through the ingredients – various spices, grated dark chocolate, citrus zest, brandy soaked currants, lemon icing – one may think a flavor war could be on their hands; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find a real balance is struck between all of these notes. Unsurprisingly, Jerusalem has put up another winner, one that I look forward to making again and again.
From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sammi Tamimi
Makes 16 cookies
3⁄4 c. plus 2 TBSP currants (125 g)
2 TBSP brandy
2 c. all-purpose flour (240 g)
1 1⁄2 tsp cocoa powder
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp allspice
1⁄2 tsp ginger
1⁄2 tsp nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp salt
5 oz dark chocolate, coarsely grated (150 g) (See Note)
1⁄2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2⁄3 c. superfine sugar (125 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp grated lemon zest
1⁄2 tsp grated orange zest
1⁄2 large egg (See Note)
1 TBSP diced candied citrus peel (optional)
3 TBSP lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 1⁄2 c. confectioners’ sugar (160g)
- Soak currants in brandy for at least 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and dark chocolate.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and orange zest until combined, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the egg and beat an additional minute. Next add the flour mixture along with the currants and brandy. Mix until dough starts to come together.
- With your hands, knead the dough until uniform and then portion it out into chunks weighing 50 grams, rolling each chunk into a ball. Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, spaced about 2 cm apart and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes until top is firm and center remains slightly soft. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar to form a thin, smooth icing. Pour a couple teaspoons of glaze over each cookie while still warm and allow the icing to drip down over the sides. (Try to reserve about half the icing mixture and apply again after the cookies have cooled about an hour). Top each cookie with three pieces of candied citrus peel, if desired.
– Grating out 5 ounces of chocolate definitely requires some time and patience. I ended up with a variety of textures after using a box grater, a rotary grater and a peeler. Of the three, I found the peeler to be the fastest. Alternatively, one could try chopping it up in a mini prep, taking care to stop before the chocolate becomes too finely ground.
– This recipe calls for, oddly enough, a partial egg. To do so, simply beat the whole egg until combined, weigh it and remove half the egg to pour into the batter.