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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Something different for Hanukkah: divine oil-based chocolate-cardamom cookies

Salted Chocolate-Cardamom Cookies.
Salted Chocolate-Cardamom Cookies.Matt Taylor-Gross

Makes about 30

In his new book "Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes From a Modern Mensch," rising star Jake Cohen talks about the Ashkenazi secular home he was raised in, meeting his husband, Alex Shapiro, a Mizrahi Jew (Persian-Iraqi), and the Friday night Sabbath dinners they began together. He has renamed Hanukkah, the eight-day holiday that begins on the evening of Nov 28, called The Festival of Lights, "the festival of oil" and he offers a very crispy version of lacy potato latkes fried in oil. The holiday is celebrated because a small amount of oil lasted for eight days in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. American Jews fry latkes in oil, Israelis make sufganiyot, golden jelly doughnuts, and other cultures use the oil in different ways. If, rather than making a mess in your kitchen, you'd prefer to buy latkes or sufganiyot, there's another recipe in Cohen's book that uses olive oil in an unusual way. Cohen mixes a cookie batter with olive oil, a pound of melted dark chocolate, cardamom, regular and light brown sugar, and only a little flour to make rounds that are firm on the outside and almost fudgy inside. You make the batter and chill it until it's firm enough to scoop into balls. He does this with his hands (quite a mess); a spring-loaded ice cream scoop works well here and makes perfect rounds. Sprinkle the tops with flaky salt before you bake them. They're divine.

1pound dark chocolate (70 percent), chopped
cup olive oil
¾cup flour
1teaspoon kosher salt
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon ground cardamom
4 eggs
1cup granulated sugar
½cup packed light brown sugar
Flaky sea salt (for sprinkling)

1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. Set a bowl on top (so the bowl doesn't touch the water) and put the chocolate and olive oil into the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is well combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry with paper towels.

3. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, baking powder, and cardamom.

4. In a large bowl that will hold all the ingredients, whisk the eggs with the granulated and brown sugar for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and lightened in color. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture.

5. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture to make a smooth dough. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

7. Use a 2-tablespoon spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a spoon to scoop the dough into balls. Place them on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Pat the tops very gently with your hands to make a small flat surface. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

8. Transfer the cookies to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans from back to front halfway through baking, or until the cookies are puffed and just firm to the touch. They will just start to crack on the surface.

9. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks. Let the cookies sit until completely cool. Store in an airtight container.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Jew-ish"

Makes about 30

In his new book "Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes From a Modern Mensch," rising star Jake Cohen talks about the Ashkenazi secular home he was raised in, meeting his husband, Alex Shapiro, a Mizrahi Jew (Persian-Iraqi), and the Friday night Sabbath dinners they began together. He has renamed Hanukkah, the eight-day holiday that begins on the evening of Nov 28, called The Festival of Lights, "the festival of oil" and he offers a very crispy version of lacy potato latkes fried in oil. The holiday is celebrated because a small amount of oil lasted for eight days in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. American Jews fry latkes in oil, Israelis make sufganiyot, golden jelly doughnuts, and other cultures use the oil in different ways. If, rather than making a mess in your kitchen, you'd prefer to buy latkes or sufganiyot, there's another recipe in Cohen's book that uses olive oil in an unusual way. Cohen mixes a cookie batter with olive oil, a pound of melted dark chocolate, cardamom, regular and light brown sugar, and only a little flour to make rounds that are firm on the outside and almost fudgy inside. You make the batter and chill it until it's firm enough to scoop into balls. He does this with his hands (quite a mess); a spring-loaded ice cream scoop works well here and makes perfect rounds. Sprinkle the tops with flaky salt before you bake them. They're divine.

1pound dark chocolate (70 percent), chopped
cup olive oil
¾cup flour
1teaspoon kosher salt
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon ground cardamom
4 eggs
1cup granulated sugar
½cup packed light brown sugar
Flaky sea salt (for sprinkling)

1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. Set a bowl on top (so the bowl doesn't touch the water) and put the chocolate and olive oil into the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is well combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom dry with paper towels.

3. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, baking powder, and cardamom.

4. In a large bowl that will hold all the ingredients, whisk the eggs with the granulated and brown sugar for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and lightened in color. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture.

5. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture to make a smooth dough. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

6. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

7. Use a 2-tablespoon spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a spoon to scoop the dough into balls. Place them on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Pat the tops very gently with your hands to make a small flat surface. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

8. Transfer the cookies to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans from back to front halfway through baking, or until the cookies are puffed and just firm to the touch. They will just start to crack on the surface.

9. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks. Let the cookies sit until completely cool. Store in an airtight container.Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Jew-ish"


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.