> The Beesley Buzz: Bake Off Biscuit Week: Naan berenji - Persian Rice flour Shortbread

Bake Off Biscuit Week: Naan berenji - Persian Rice flour Shortbread

This week was biscuit week on bake off and I loved the look of all those biscotti. I'd love to have a go at cooking biscotti one day. For my biscuit week bake I wanted to look back to my roots, my heritage, and make an Iranian biscuit.

I remember these rice shortbreads from my childhood. Having an Iranian mother meant that we were fortunate enough to taste many interesting foods that my peers did not. One such food was naan berenji (rice flour shortbread). I don't recall my mum ever actually baking these but I do remember eating them at her friends houses or friends returning from visits to Iran bringing some back for her. 

The recipe for these is pretty straightforward, but the chilling time for the dough could well be a world record for the longest chilled biscuit dough. Depending on which recipe you find, it varies from a minimum of 6 hours, 8 hours, overnight or up to a whopping 24hours!

It uses rice flour instead of ordinary flour and so the biscuits end up VERY dry tasting. They are supposed to be like this to be eaten with Persian tea but I know the dryness is not to everyone's liking. (I know I know, I'm having mine with green tea rather than proper persian tea!) 

Ingredients:
360g rice flour
240g unsalted butter
2 eggs
240g icing sugar
Poppy seeds (optional)
Ground cardamom seeds (around 1 teaspoon to taste)
Rosewater (1-2 tablespoons to taste)

Method:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs, beating well after each egg is added.
2. Add the rice flour and cardamom and beat until a stiff dough is formed.
3. Wrap in cling film and chill for a very long time! I did 6 hours but you can leave for up to 24 hours.
4. Once your dough is chilled thoroughly for all those hours, preheat the oven to 190C. 
5. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
6. The dough is a very strange consistency and so instead of trying to divide it into pieces or roll it to cut it, the way to handle it is to use a spoon to cut off small pieces. Then shape these pieces into balls and slightly flatten them as you place them onto the baking sheet. They are quite small biscuits so each biscuit will probably be only about 3cm wide.

7. To get the perfect traditional look for these biscuits, you are supposed to press a thimble onto the centre, then sprinkle a few poppy seeds onto the thimble marks. I found a fork print or using a knife to score a little star pattern works just as well. You can leave out the poppy seeds altogether if you wish as I did with some of mine.

8. Bake for around 12 minutes. They are supposed to be characteristically pale in colour. They should not brown. My first batch came out perfectly, but I wish I had placed the second tray in for a shorter amount of time as those ones did brown a little.

The amount of cardamom and rosewater can be varied according to taste. I personally love cardamom so used a whole teaspoon of ground cardamom seeds in it. Too much rosewater can end up reminding us of those overpowering rose flavoured soaps so you need just enough rosewater to give it a lovely hint without it being overpowering. For me just 1 tablespoon was fine.

I'm really glad I made these as it is one of those things I've always wanted to bake and (apart from the long chill time) they were actually far more straight forward than I imagined them to be.

Once again we are linking up with Silver Mushroom's Bake With Bake Off and the Great Bloggers Bake Off at Mummy Mishaps.

Mummy Mishaps

21 comments:

  1. I've not tried anything like this before, but they do look delicious

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  2. I love trying different ideas when baking, it's great to see so many variations to biscuits, would love to try one x

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    1. I love seeing other people's ideas too. This is actually a pretty traditional biscuit in Iran I believe but I have started using cardamom and rosewater in other baking as I love those flavours. x

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  3. oh wow i love the sound of these, full of such interesting flavours. thank you for introducing them to me - a new type of biscuit x

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    1. thanks for your lovely comment Jenny. x

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  4. these sound amazing, I'd really like to try them despite not being a fan of cardamom. Your photos are lovely too x

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  5. Oh wow these sound so good!!! I love the flavour combination, cardamon is a favourite of mine x #GBBOBloggers2015

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  6. They look lovely and I am sure they taste it too x

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  7. These look great, I love finding new recipes for bakes I've never heard off and cardamom sounds gorgeous...one of my favourite spices!

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    1. cardamom just smells so heavenly doesn't it. x

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  8. They look great, the flavours are wonderful - I recently made pistachio, cardamom and rose financiers too! It is great to see a new kind of biscuit I have never heard off too.

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    1. thanks Lucy. Pistachio is another fave ingredient of mine too. x

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  9. yum, I definitely want to try these! I used to live in a Persian area in Toronto and ADORE Persian food (and desserts when I can eat them!). I really miss good Persian food! Thanks for this!

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    1. I miss Persian food too - there's not much of it that I know how to cook properly and i have no persian friends or family nearby. I guess I will have to learn more recipes myself and make them. x

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  10. Ooh, I've never seen these before - not sure I'd like them if they are so dry, but they look so nice!

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    1. thanks Andrea. I think they're designed to be drunk with tea so the dryness seems to be deliberate - i love them but i know they are not to everyone's taste. x

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  11. Really interesting, they look yummy :) #gbbobloggers2015

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