Sunday, December 16, 2007

jewish bakery favourites — no. 3

called eier kichelach (egg cookies) in yiddish, or "nothings" as they are locally known, these ashkenazi cookies are both airy and extremely light when well made and do merit their nothing name.

made from eggs, flour, a little oil and some sugar, it is a simple recipe to make. well, err... not so simple exactly. what is difficult about these is the mixing part. the dough has to be worked properly in order for the gluten to form. this means you either need to make these with a heavy duty mixer like a kitchen aid or a large capacity food processor. i've made them here in a half recipe with a smaller food processor, so it can be successfully done on a smaller scale. i tried it once using a regular handmixer and well, it died. permanently died. let me explain....

the dough for kind of cookie is very sticky and elastic. it also loves to "ride" up the beaters, especially when made with an everyday handmixer (which i highly discourage using). even with a kitchen aid, it likes to travel but this is easily controlled by pushing the batter down with a spatula. the dough can also be made in a food processor but for the the full recipe, you MUST use a 11 to 13 cup capacity one.

so is all this worth it? YES. they are great cookies.

i am making them smaller here than they would be found in a jewish bakery as it is 'home baking' for my blog's purposes and the everyday person. the first time making these, i suggest trying a half recipe to try them out in terms of technique.

the sugar i used here to coat the cookies is regular (caster/granulated) sugar. usually, one uses (large) crystallized sugar which i had run out of .... do use this type, if you can get it. it adds texture and looks much nicer.

eier kichelach אייער קיכלאך — "nothings"

not too sweet, these very jewish type of cookies are light and airy and covered in sesame seeds and sugar. even better are when they are covered in crystallized sugar. if you are not familiar with them, try making a half recipe first to try them out.

makes 42 to 48


3 eggs*
3 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c oil
1 c all purpose flour + 1/2 tsp baking powder

*if you are making a half recipe make sure to measure out one of the eggs by tablespoons (scramble it first) and take half of the amount.

* * * * * * *

3/4 c sesame seeds
3 tbsp crystallized or caster sugar (or more)


place eggs, 3 tbsp sugar, salt in processor and run the machine for about 1 minute.

place the oil in a measuring cup with a spout. slowly pour in the oil, with the machine running until it is completely blended. it will thicken.

mix flour and baking soda together. by tablespoon, add the flour with the machine running again.

let the mixture get processed for a full 30 seconds once all the flour has been added.

the mixture will be shiny and very, very sticky.

preheat the oven now to 400F. either grease a cookie sheet or line one with parchment paper and set aside.

in a bowl or on a plate, mix the sesame seeds and sugar together. as an alternative, you can just roll them in the crystallized sugar alone as is often seen in jewish bakeries.

with a GREASED teaspoon, measure out portions and place them on the sesame seeds.

roll them well. the whole piece must be covered.

take one of the pieces in your hands and pull it gently to elongate and flatten it. it should be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches long.

twist over one of the ends only once to make a little bowtie.

place it on the sheet and do this to the rest of the cookies until all the batter is used. leave space between each kichel as they will expand and puff up as they bake.

once all have been formed, place them in the hot oven for 8 minutes.

after 8 minutes, lower the heat to 300 F and bake for 12 minutes. then lower the heat again to 150 F and let them continue to bake for another 20 minutes. turn off the heat and leave them sit for another 10 to 15 minutes.

remove from the oven and let them cool completely.


(based on a norene gilletz recipe)

post script:

clean up is a pain as the dough tends to overflow. it's just something you have to live with when making these. the picture below shows what i mean. make sure to clean well! don't say i didn't warn you beforehand!! LOL.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Another batch of gorgeous looking cookies! I bet they taste great!



Anonymous said...

Excellent, as always. I haven't baked nothings in ages (maybe since Passover?).

Do you find that they turn out as well using the food processor instead of the stand mixer? I haven't had much success.

The trick, I believe, to stop the batter from riding up the beater in a stand mixer is to beat the heck out of it (it'll still ride up a little). I let them mix on high for about 8 minutes.

Now, having said that, I haven't tried Norene's recipe, but I'm sure it works better in a food processor than my recipe would. She is, of course, the food processor maven.

All you need is a cup of milky coffee or tea and you're good to go!

Arabic Bites said...

yummy...yummy !!!
look fabulous!
we have tagged you for a Meme, only if you want to do it, and we hope you haven't done it already .

zainab & meedo

TopChamp said...

Jewish food looks good.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

A friend just sent me this link but didn't realize it would lead me to one of my own recipes! Your photography is absolutely amazing. Wow!

Yes, a processor makes terrific kichel in a fraction of the time. Keep on cooking!

Norene Gilletz, Cookbook Author

burekaboy — said...

rosa - they're one of my favourites :)

hi pam - they actually turn out fairly comparable, believe it or not. of course, the best ones are made in a heavy duty mixer. hobart, please! LOL. you're right, they benefit from a long(er) mixing and the dough is then more easily controlled from its annoying tendency to ride up the beaters.

norene's recipe actually works VERY well in the food processor, as i've shown here. lo and behold, Norene herself left a message (see the comments here)! i will take that as high compliments ;))

yes, good milky tea or coffee is the best thing to go with kichel. thanks for your comment.

hi zainab & meedo - thanks! left you an answer on your blog :)

TC - LOL. we never lack for food. i'll leave it at that :))

burekaboy — said...

Norene - thank you for your visit and comment! what a surprise to find your message :)

of course, like all your recipes, this one works amazingly well! as you say, the dough for the kichel is mixed in a fraction of the time — as compared to a standard mixer.

thank YOU for all your hard work and years of dedication in putting out recipes and cookbooks for great food that i know everyone enjoys.

Anonymous said...

wow! jewish food rocks and you also boreka.i'll try making the batter in my thermomix after reading about the mixer versus food processor controversy.i'll let you know!

Unknown said...

These are so cute! I just want to make a trip to Canada and eat your cute bowties and ruggelach!

Also, how is the kittycat?

burekaboy — said...

sari - LOL, thanks :)) keep your eye on it while you're mixing!!

hope they turn out well and you like them. lemme know how it goes.

hey lannae - i'll have them waiting for you ;)

mr. kitty has been a very bad boy lately. the new game is to attack the toilet paper roll and shred it while i'm sleeping. what a mess to wake up to! other than that, he's super fine. i haven't done the WCB thing in a loooong time. thanks for asking :)