Tag Archives: cookies

The Biscochos Are Here!

O, Ye of little faith! You thought I’d never come across, didn’t you. Granted, I’ve really dragged my heels with this recipe, and after taking so long with it, of course I feel like my reputation’s on the line.

I can’t count the number of people who’ve asked me – begged! – for a good recipe for biscochos, and for longer than I’m comfortable admitting. (Okay. Years.)   There are two very good reasons for so much pleading, and for so much stalling on my part.

First (or second):  Biscochos – Sephardic cookie rings – are a treat often first experienced in early childhood, and never, ever forgotten. You might even have teethed on them, though I also recall gnawing on Zwieback biscuits. (“She remembers teething?” you ask. Yep. Tastes and textures die hard).

Second (or first): What constitutes a “good” biscocho is entirely subjective, and a good biscocho recipe is very elusive. It can take ages to get it right. I’m still working on mine. Continue reading

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Coming soon…

Reshas (biscochos)

Reshikas (biscochos)

A household of one has to go slowly testing baked goods!

As this half-full jar (or is it half empty?) implies, I’ve been baking – and eating. This is my latest test batch of biscochos, and I’m getting very close to a recipe I really like, i.e. with the flavor and texture of my great grandma’s. I aim to get there, but I’m pacing myself – biscochos are so good, even a mediocre recipe is irresistible.

Stay tuned!

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Q & A: Reshikas

Hi, Janet,
Have you ever heard of rechikas?  My grandmother (and later, my mother) made these little dry cookies, not very sweet at all, crunchy and absolutely DELICIOUS, especially when dunked in some Turkish coffee!  OMG, I’m drooling.  Please say you know what I’m talking about.
Yael Eylat-Tanaka
Of course, Yael! Reshikas, or reshas, are exactly as you describe them. My first taste was a mesmerizing experience.  I was very, very young – four, at most – and my mother brought home a bagful after a visit to my great grandma.  My eyes popped, and I couldn’t stop eating them.  Great grandma was already in her nineties, but she still made one mean cookie.
Reshikas are merely biscochos – shortbread cookies –  that are twisted before shaping them into rings. Orange juice (not rind) blended into the dough is most likely the source of the subtle flavor you remember, and the crumbly texture comes from oil.  Growing up in New York our oil of choice was Mazola corn oil – in the 1960’s we weren’t exactly spoiled for choice – but your grandmother surely used a mild-flavored olive oil.   To jog your memory a little, here’s an old post with a photo.

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Mustachudos

masapan_-ojaldres_-mustachudos1MUSTACHUDOS  (“mōō-stä-CHŌŌ-thōs”)  Here is a prime example of the way in which many Sephardic foods are infused with symbolism.

As a general rule, Sephardic custom doesn’t call much for cooking with wine. There are exceptions, of course, and these can be unusual enough as to impact the name of the recipe in question.  During Passover, any wine consumed must be ‘new’; this means using either grape juice or young wine that is kosher for Passover.  The mustachudo gets its name from this specific ingredient:  musto in Ladino; mosto in Spanish and Italian, must in English. The name has absolutely nothing to do with ‘little moustaches’, despite the similar-sounding root word. Continue reading

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Filed under Glossary, Holidays (fiestas judias)