Month of July: “Purple Citrus Sweet Perfume” Recipe; Syrian Jewels-Crunchy Sesame and Pistachio Cookies

“There’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood. And understanding someone else.” Brad Meltzer

Good memories are like jewels. Last night my husband and I started our summer chore list and one thing we have been wanting to do is organize the attic. We sectioned off the book box area, the Christmas decoration area, the memory area. I came across a shadow box of arrowheads collected over the years and of course my thoughts went to her.

Abby and I were both good arrowhead hunters. As tree planters, we found quite a few in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Wisconsin. This shadow box is a collection of some of my best finds, not just chips. Next to one arrowhead I had pinned a piece of paper with my handwriting in black fine point, “September 16, 1996, metaphysical collides with physical.” I recalled finding that one in particular on a fall evening in New York after wandering out in a plowed field across from my mother’s house. I remembered a hard rainstorm had passed. I thought, “maybe I will find an arrowhead” and just as I was conscious of my inner voice, I looked down and right in front of my eyes was a complete arrowhead inches from my right foot! I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited I practically ran back and called Abby immediately. We laughed and I can still remember now that warm feeling of connection when you reach out to another human soul and it feels so much like home in the knowing that they understand you exactly. They just understand. Priceless.

Ingredients: 2/3 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds, 6 tablespoons of light corn syrup, 3/4 cup sliced or finely chopped pistachios, 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 6 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter, 3 tablespoons warm water, 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place sesame seeds and syrup in a bowl and mix well, then spread in a thick layer in a shallow bowl. Spread the pistachios in a second shallow bowl.
  2. Place the flour and butter in a the food processor with the plastic blade and pulse. In a bowl, combine the warm water (105-115F) with the sugar and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve sugar and yeast. Add the flour and butter mixture to the sugar yeast mixture to combine all the ingredients. It will feel wet and loose. Refrigerate for 10 minutes
  3. Dust a little flour on work surface (not too much) and divide the dough into quarters. Roll into a sausage shape. Each quarter will make 5 cookies. Cut the dough with a knife and then flatten disc slightly. Rub the piece into the sesame mixture first and then the pistachios. I felt this was really tricky and had to mix the piece of dough and seeds in my hand because the mixture got thick and hard. But with patience I figured it out. Then roll into pistachio pieces. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden on bottom, don’t overcook! They seem soft but harden up when cooled. Store in airtight container if they last that long!

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