The Daring Bakers Make Tiramisu!!!!!

Glern slerpie musha aao tenslurp.

Oh, sorry, needed to wipe the drool off my chin.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Mascarpone Cheese – Vera’s Recipe (Baking Obsession) for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese.
Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home
Tiramisu – Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007

When I saw this month’s challenge, I freaked. Literally. I’m talking wailing, hair pulling, flopping on the couch. Why?

Because I LOVE tiramisu. Maybe love isn’t the correct word for it. I’m obsessed. But I’m also a hard core snob. Just any old tiramisu will not do. No, it has to be GOOD. I always have mixed feelings when I see tiramisu on a menu. Part of me is completely elated, jonesing for that creamy bite of mascarpone cheese, espresso and rum. But another part of me gets nervous. What if it’s not good? What if I order it, and it turns out to be a brick of frozen crap pulled out of a cardboard box? Then I’ve wasted my dessert choice, I can’t take the foul taste from my mouth. It’s hard to recover from that. I almost always order it, of course, because I’m hooked. And even if it is crap, I always defend every last morsel, ever last swirl of mascarpone, with teeth bared, and knives and forks at the ready. It’s probably a good thing that firearms aren’t allowed at the dinner table because one wrong look and you’d be a gonner. Husband, best friend, father, it doesn’t matter - even pretend you’re going to steal my tiramisu and you’re done for.

But I didn’t just freak out because we were making my all time favorite substitute for crack completely from scratch. No, the real reason why I freaked is because I have been obtaining from tiramisu for almost 6 months now, because I’m baking my own little bun in the oven, and espresso and rum isn’t exactly on the doctor’s “To Eat” list.  For days I thought about it. How could I make tiramisu without rum or espresso? Those are vital!! I was consumed by it, I worried about it, I woke up at 4am thinking about it. I thought about doing an alternative version, changing the flavors up a bit. Maybe Chocolate and Strawberry? Blackberry and...something??.  But I really didn’t want to spend 4 whole days making this from scratch and then be disappointed because it wasn’t a realtiramisu. I am sure it would be good, just not what I wanted, what I craved. So instead, I decided to opt for Imitation Rum Flavoring, and well, just suck it up with the espresso. I only used 2 ¼ cups for the whole dish, and with 6 servings, that is only 0.375 cups per serving. And I’m technically allowed 8 ounces of caffeine a day. I figure since I haven’t had a lick of caffeine since I found out I was pregnant, I could justify this one piece of tiramisu. This once.

I found this challenge a joy to put together. I had never heard of a zabaglione before (It’s a light airy custard), had never had anything except for store bought refrigerated lady fingers, and had always been wanting to make my own mascarpone! The lady fingers turned out great! I think I am definitely getting better at folding a mixture into stiff egg whites and my piping is getting better as well. I made my fingers kind of thin and small (more like pinkie fingers) but they were super light, fluffy, and flaky. The mascarpone cheese was fun to make, and the zabaglione, the pastry cream, and the whipped cream all tasted great by themselves, so I knew they were going to be good! The only problem I had wasn’t with the actual preparation of this dish, it was 2 hours before I was going to actually be able to eat it when I had a slight paranoid freak-out because I didn’t know if the egg yolks in the pastry cream and the zabaglione were considered cooked or raw, and I was going to be damned if I had spent 4 days making this thing and at the last second found out I couldn’t eat it! But never fear, I called the doctor and after she was done laughing at me she assured me that cooking the eggs in the double boiler for the required time was considered safe, and would I please bring her a piece?

So, I bet you are wondering how the end product was, aren't you? It was good, let me tell you. All plates were LICKED clean. And I don't mean by the dogs, either. Next time I will definitely be using REAL rum instead of the imitation kind. I wasn't overly thrilled with the flavor that the imitation rum lent to the tiramisu. It was too....fake.... But other than that, this was delicious. And I meant that wholeheartedly, with every ounce of my snobbery. You should make this. And then pretend that you didn't so you don't have to share. 

This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering.
Pour the cream into a medium stainless steel heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. While using the double boiler to make the mascarpone as well as the zabaglione, always ensure that the bottom of the bowl on top doesn't touch the bottom of the lower one.
Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
 It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating.
Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir.
Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours. Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.


This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers.
3 eggs, separated

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup cake flour, sifted

6 tablespoons confectioner's sugar,
Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
 In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy. 

Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips. 
 It might be a good idea to decide the size of the dish in which you intend to set the dessert, and make the fingers to a size which would fit that dish. This makes it easier when assembling the tiramisu later. Do remember that ladyfingers/ savioardi puff up a little while baking. 
Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
 Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.

Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
 Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.

Ladyfinger biscuits may be stored up to a week in an airtight container in a cool place.

This recipe makes BIG  6 servings but I think you could get 8 good sized ones out of it. 

Ingredients:For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Marsala wine (or port or coffee)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.

Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup whole milk
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
 Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For the whipped cream:
1 cup chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed

1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
 If you would like to de-mould your tiramisu from your dish (cutting can be easier and neater this way, you can line your dish with plastic wrap (leaving a little extra on the sides of the dish) and then start assembling your tiramisu. Once the tiramisu sets in the refrigerator, you can use the overhang to pull the tiramisu out of the dish. 
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
 Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
 Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges. 

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

The BEST Sugar Cookies!

I am a huge fan of sugar cookies. And an even bigger sucker for cookie cutters. So far I have been really well behaved when it comes to buying them, I really only have a few different shapes. But as soon as I am finished baking my own little cinnamon bun and she's ready to help Mommy in the kitchen... watch out!

This is by far the best recipe that I have found for sugar cookies. The finished cookie has great texture - not overly soft and cake-like, but not hard and crunchy, either. They are good in between.  I really love this icing. It is more of a glaze than it is a frosting, and it finishes super shiny and silky. And a secret ingredient gives the cookie a little something extra in the taste category!

Sugar Cookies
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time making sure they are fully incorporated.
Mix in the dry ingredients. The dough will appear kind of sandy.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Roll the dough out to 1/4" thickness and cut shapes.
Reshape scraps into a ball, re-roll, and cut again until you have no more remaining dough.
Place shapes on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown.
Immediately transfer to a cooling rack.

Sugar Cookie Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
food coloring

Stir sugar and milk together until smooth.
Beat in corn syrup and the almond extract until smooth and glossy.
If the icing is too thick, add more syrup.

You can either dip your cookie in the icing and let the extra drip off, or you can spoon some on to the top of your cookie and spread it around.

Clementines Confit

This post comes to you courtesy of a very special person to me - my best friend Brianne! I totally roped her into this by baiting her with a fabulous recipe I knew she couldn't resist  making and then telling her the payment for it would be a guest blog post! And guess what, it worked!! 

Clementines Confites
Oh how I wish I were French! I imagine myself waiting in line at the bakery taking in all the heavenly smells of the breads baking, wandering the streets of Paris in a cute dress and red beret, and drink dark coffee at the local cafe'.
But alas… I am stuck in freezing Iowa, wearing multiple layers of clothing and a stocking hat, and counting down the days to the spring flowers arriving.
I like to pretend occasionally that I am French however, by eating Brie cheese on a baguette for breakfast, wearing my hair in a short bob, and making French foods. My bestie (aka The Gingered Whisk) sent me this recipe and I ran straight to the store to get the ingredients. Because this recipe came out of France, it took me a minute to convert grams into ounces. This recipe is time consuming (takes 14 days… I promise it is worth it), but is very simple. And the smell is absolutely divine!
The word confit (pronounced "Con-fee") comes from the French verb “confire”, which mean to preserve. The food can be sealed and stored in a cool place, and can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a specialty of southwestern France.
  • 1 pound of firm, ripe clementines
  • Honey (7 ounces)
  • Sugar (38.6 ounces total)
  • Scrub clementines clean, and pierce them deeply with a thin needle, everywhere. 
  • Put them into a saucepan, and cover the pierced fruits with water (water should come over just the top of the clementines). 
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the fruit with a pair of tongs or slotted spoon to a deep sided non-reactive bowl or a jar. 
  • Add 17.6 ounces (just over 2 cups) sugar, and 7 ounces (just under 1 cup) honey (this will achieve the goal of avoiding the sugar going grainy) to the cooking juice. 
  • Bring the syrup to a boil and remove from heat promptly when it reaches a boil. 
  • Pour the syrup over the clementines, weigh the top down with a plate to avoid the fruits from floating to the top, and let it sit loosely covered with a clean dishcloth for 2 days. 
  • After 2 days have passed, remove the fruit from the bowl, transfer the juice to a saucepan, and add 3.5 ounces of sugar to the juice. 
  • Bring the juice and sugar to a boil, remove from heat, then pour over the clementines and let sit for another 2 days. 
  • Follow this process every 2 days, 3.5 ounces of sugar to the syrup, until you reach the 14th day. 
  • On the 14th day, transfer them to a jar, and keep, covered in their syrup, in a cool dry place.  They will keep for as long as a year, getting better with age.
I hope you enjoy this little touch of France. Apprécier!

Chicken and Noodles with Mashed Potatoes

I think it is funny that there is a definite difference in the posts that I write at home versus the ones that I write at work. At home, I am tired, I just want to get my pictures uploaded and the post up because my cuddle buddies are patiently waiting for me on the couch, and the clock is inching ever closer to the time when “Lost” will come on.

But the posts that I write while I am at work, well, those are definitely a different story. Because while I am at work, and I should be working away catching criminals, all I can think about is food. What we should have for dinner this week, what fancy new thing I can try, drooling over my favorite food blogs, and recipes, recipes, recipes! I am inexplicable incapable of working at work until I have satisfied my food fix in the morning. It’s not as if I couldn’t do all this when I got home in the evening. I probably could. But why test it? 

This brings us to my all time favorite feel good, cozy up, comfort food. Chicken and Noodles with Mashed Potatoes. Apparently, a lot of people have never even heard of this, but trust me, it is love in a bowl. It reminds me of warm blankets and hugs. Sometimes I would bring car loads of girlfriends home with me from collage and my Dad would cook giant pots of this. He was invariably dreaming about steaming bowls of leftovers, but it never failed that us girls could pack every last morsel of this heavenly goodness away. I don’t know where we all put it, but it was probably in all the empty spaces that we hadn’t filled with cafeteria food.

So, without further ado, I give you…love.

Chicken and Noodles with Mashed Potatoes

3 Celery stalks, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
Dried leaf Sage
1-1.5 cups carrots, chopped (I usually use baby carrots, because that is what I have on hand)
4 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
Meat of 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled into bite sized chunks (or 3 cooked chicken breasts)
Frozen Egg Noodles
3 tablespoons flour

Sauté’ the celery, onion, and garlic in some olive oil until the celery is soft and the onion is translucent.
Add carrots and sauté for an additional 5 minutes, or until carrots just begin to soften.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add pepper and dried sage to taste. I honestly have no idea how much I put in. A couple shakes of the pepper container, a few sprinkles of sage.
Add chicken and return to a boil. Stir occasionally.
Add noodles and return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally.
When noodles are almost done, transfer some of the chicken broth to a cup. Slowly add some of the flour in and whisk with a fork until smooth. Pour this back into the pot and mix thoroughly.
Allow to simmer for a few minutes to check the consistency of the gravy. If you would like it thicker, repeat the last step. You want it thicker than broth, but not as thick as a gravy for biscuits and gravy. You want it somewhere in between.

Serve on top of, underneath, or mix in with mashed potatoes. (I didn’t include a mashed potato recipe because I figure everyone knows how to make a standard mashed potato. If you don’t, email me and we will talk!)

Broiled Spicy Saffron Chicken

I was craving something...exotic the other day, and stumbled across this recipe from Food and Wine which just hit the spot! Slightly spicy from the cayenne and cumin, but also exotic with the cinnamon and the lovely bouquet of saffron! It is simple to make, which makes it perfect for a weeknight

Serve with a steaming helping of fragrant basmati rice and a side of cauliflower stir fried with onion, cumin seed, ground coriander and chopped fresh ginger. It makes for a boring monochromic plate, but what it lacks in color it makes up for in taste!!

Broiled Spicy Saffron Chicken

1/4 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp hot water
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
4 boneless, skineless chicken breasts

In a small bowl crumble the saffron threads. Add the hot water and steep for 5 minutes.
In a shallow dish, combine yogurt, onion, garlic, cayenne, lemon juice, honey, oil, salt, cumin, and cinnamon.
Stir in saffron and water.
Add the chicken breasts and turn well to coat.
Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
When ready to cook the chicken, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
Heat the broiler.
Place the chicken on the rack over the broiler pan. Discard any leftover marinade.
Broil the chicken 3-5 inches from the heat source for 4-6 minutes, turning once.
Cook until the chicken is cooked through and reads an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Daring Cooks Make Mezze with Homemade Pita Bread, Hummus and Falafel

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid. This is more of a style than eating than an actual recipe and consists of several small dishes all at once - kind of like the Middle Eastern version of Spanish tapas. It can be served as appetizers before a meal, or as the actual meal itself. This month we were required to make our own pita bread from scratch and hummus! 

I absolutely loved this challenge. It was easy and definitely yummy! I do hate to admit that I waited until the last possible moment to cook this meal, resulting in me rushing around like crazy, covering the whole house in flying flour and dirty dishes, and making the whole thing start to finish in 2.5 hours. I chose to make my mezze with pita, hummus, homemade falafel (SOO much better than the boxed stuff!!!), grilled chicken, eggplant, and zucchini.

Pita Bread – Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook
2 teaspoons regular dry yeast
2.5 cups lukewarm water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (may use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose, or a combination of alternative flours for gluten free pita)
1 tablespoon table salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.

2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

3. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).

4. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.

5. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.

Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.
1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt

4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.

2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Falafels - Prep Time: Overnight for dry beans and 1 hour to make Falafels
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight OR use well canned drained chickpeas (7 ounces/100 grams)

1/2 large onion (roughly chopped, about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped OR use a couple pinches of dried parsley (.2 ounces/5 grams)

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped OR use a couple pinches of dried cilantro (.2 ounces/5 grams)

1 teaspoon table salt (.1 ounce/5 grams)

1 teaspoon dried hot red peppers (cayenne) (.1 ounce/2 grams)

4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon cumin (.1 ounce/2 grams)

1 teaspoon baking powder (.13 ounces/4 grams)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (1 ounce/24 grams) (you may need a bit extra)

tasteless oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut, soybean, etc.), you will need enough so that the oil is three inches deep in whatever pan you are using for frying

1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, and then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed. If you don’t have a food processor, then feel free to mash this up as smooth as possible by hand.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.

5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees (190C) in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

6. Drain on paper towels.
Note: I sometimes prefer to bake these so I can avoid the deep frying. I bake them on a nonstick pad (silpat or the like) at 325F (160C), just until they’re firm, about 20 minutes.
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