Martha Bakes: Middle Eastern Cookies | PBS Food

Martha Bakes: Middle Eastern Cookies

MBAK-909-Tahini-Cookies-Show-Image Martha Bakes More Episodes

With Martha Bakes, discover Martha Stewart’s tips and techniques to create delectable baked goods. Be sure to check your local listings to see when the program will be airing in your area.


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Join Martha as she explores the alluring and exotic cookies of the Middle East. Learn how the warm spices, dried fruit fillings, and fragrant ingredients deliver big flavor in three irresistible treats: date-filled Ma’amoul stamped with a geometric pattern, unusually textured Iranian rice cookies found at every festive occasion, and tahini cookies—the Middle Eastern version of your favorite peanut butter ones.

This Week’s Recipe

Iranian Rice Cookies (Nan-e Berenji)

Make Martha Stewart's Iranian Rice Cookies (Nan-e Berenji) from the Middle Eastern Cookies episode of Martha Bakes.



  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rice flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a fine sieve with four layers of cheesecloth and set over a small liquid measuring cup. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until beginning to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until foamy, stirring occasionally, until butter turns golden brown with a nutty aroma, and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and strain through prepared sieve, leaving solids behind. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In another small saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and 2 tablespoons water until sugar has dissolved, then transfer to a large bowl. Let cool slightly, then add rose water and stir to combine.
  3. Add yolk to sugar mixture and whisk until light and slightly thickened. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in strained brown butter until thick and fully incorporated. In a medium bowl, combine flours, cardamom, and salt. Add to brown butter mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart. Imprint each ball with the grooved side of a meat mallet, pressing to 1/4 inch thick. Dust mallet with rice flour as needed to prevent sticking. Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges of cookies just turn light golden, about 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: Makes about 16


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