Domari Walnut Cakes (Cookies from Jerusalem)

Recipe and photo contributed by Elizabeth Schwartz Yield:  30 cookies
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  30 minutes

Domari Walnut Cakes (Cookies from Jerusalem)

These walnut cakes are a tender, walnut stuffed cookie that is truly a delight with a cup of strong, steaming, black leaf tea. This recipe is adapted from The Domari Cookbook, collected by Amoun Sleem. See our kitchen tips after the recipe for places to buy a cookie mold, to make it in the traditional and beautiful presentation.

Ingredients

Dough:

4½ cups fine semolina flour

½ cup sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter

1 cup whole milk

½ teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

1½ cups finely chopped walnuts

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Garnish:

Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Combine the semolina and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and heat until small bubbles form. Pour the melted butter over the semolina and mix with a wooden spoon until the butter is evenly distributed and the dough resembles coarse meal.
  3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and mix in the baking soda. Pour over the semolina mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. Cool.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a board and knead by hand until well combined. Do not overwork the dough or it will get tough. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature to rest for 5  to 8 hours.
  5. Once dough is ready, mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl. Knead dough once more so it is pliable again.
  6. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pinch off a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a ball between your hands, then press flat and push sides up to make a well. Fill with one teaspoon of the filling and pinch dough together to seal. Press the ball of dough into the cookie press, then tap it out.
  7. Place each completed cake on an ungreased baking tray, decorated side up. (They won’t rise so you can place them close together without touching).
  8. Place cakes in oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake until light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool the cookies on the tray for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately or store in airtight containers for up to 1 week. Serve with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Kitchen Tips

To make these cakes, you will need a press like this press for date cookies or this cookie mold.

You can substitute clarified butter, or ghee, for the melted butter with great success if you have some on hand. It also works with a non dairy non saturated fat margerine, but it be a bit more crumbly, a little more flaky, and it does have a slighlty different but still great flavor.

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